Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena says not being afraid of failure has led him from an embarrassing loan to Chippa United to where he’s currently in his career.

Mokwena has long been touted as the most promising coach in South African football with former Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane even going on to saying will exceed his achievements in football.

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But after taking the bold move to leave Sundowns for Orlando Pirates as the assistant to Milutin Sredojević, and later enduring an ill-fated stint as head coach when the Serbian departed for Zamalek, it all curtailed in being sent out on ‘loan’ to the Chili Boys.

Mosimane welcomed him back to Chloorkop after his release and the rest, as they say is history, as he eventually became co-head coach after Mosimane’s surprise exit and now the sole head coach in the current season.

His enterprising style of football, which North African media has likened to the prime Brazil of the late 90s and early 2000s, has naturally seen him linked with Ahly and Wydad Athletic Club and when asked if the journey is flattering or inspiring, Mokwena stated it’s a lesson.

“It’s educational, it’s educational is a sense that life has its ups and downs, life has its moments where perseverance is needed, but life also has its moments in failure where there’s a lot of education, and part to everyone’s story, I say this to players, success has the same clues,” Mokwena said when asked by iDiski Times about his rise from adversity.

“Every successful [person] on the planet, has a story that involves moments of hardship and failure. But it’s those moments that make us who we are.

“I’m just fortunate at this point in time that I have a squad of very good players who happen to be very good human beings, and I’m at a very good club that has the support structures that we have.

“The focus is to try to help this club and supporters happy – and better than we found it, it’s a hard task, it’s got a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations, but it’s one that we can do together, push towards and then it’s the grace of God too.

“When it’s God’s invisible hand, you understand… particularly, when you failed so many times in your life and I may not have too many failures, to be honest, but when you have failed in life you understand and appreciate that because you failed, you only succeed because 1; the people around you and 2; God’s grace and favour.”

As he looked to take a border-line philosphyical approach to answer his feelings of his career being resurrected within the space that is Masandawana, he stated he hopes that it can serve as inspiration for others who dare to do – within any facet of life and career path.

“Some of these things we don’t speak too much about but they happen in day-to-day life even for day-to-day human beings, who may not have the privilege I may have and the situations I may have – but sit and go through life’s difficulties and hardships,” he added.

“The testimony to my story is a testimony that can help with their story and even though it might be in different spaces but understanding hardships are set-ups for even better successes and future successes. The only thing you need is diligence, perseverance and a lot of hard work, and not being afraid to tempt to flirt with failure.

“Sometimes we are so scared of trying things because we are scared of failure because we don’t try things, but it’s the failures that set us up for our successes.”

Mokwena won back-to-back DStv Premiership Coach of the Month awards and his Masandawana side return to action on Saturday for their final CAF Champions League group stage game against Coton Sport.


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