Sundowns reportedly in talks with Rulani Mokwena over potential exit – reports

Reports are swirling that Mamelodi Sundowns and coach Rulani Mokwena are in discussions to part ways, a move that would send shockwaves through South African football.

It is understood that the 37-year-old coach Rulani Mokwena was absent from Mamelodi Sundowns' pre-season training that commenced this week. In his absence, senior coach Manqoba Mngqithi oversaw the first training session.

SABC Sport broke the story on Tuesday morning that the two parties were in talks over a possible departure of Mokwena in what appears as a shock move.

It is worth mentioning that there have been ongoing tensions between Mokwena and Sporting Director Flemming Berg, indicating a difficult working relationship.

REASONS BEHIND MOKWENA’S POTENTIAL DEPARTURE

There have also been reports of friction between Mokwena and Sundowns regarding player transfers, including the departure of Bongani Zungu, a move Mokwena reportedly disagreed with.

Last season, Mokwena enjoyed a highly successful campaign with the Tshwane giants, guiding them to both DStv Premiership and African Football League glory.

Their inaugural AFL campaign was a dominant run, defeating Petro de Luanda in the quarter-finals, Al Ahly in the semi-finals, and Wydad Casablanca in the final – all matches played over two legs.

Meanwhile, Mokwena's dream of leading Mamelodi Sundowns to an invincible DStv Premiership season was shattered on the final day by Cape Town City, who emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win.

However, under his guidance, Sundowns achieved a new milestone by securing the league title with 73 points, surpassing their previous record of 71 points set by Pitso Mosimane in 2016.

Sundowns, under Mokwena's leadership, capped off a remarkable last season by securing their place at the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held in the USA next June.

But according to iDiski Times, Mokwena fell short of the targets outlined in his mandate at the beginning of the season.

WHY MOKWENA’S IMMINENT EXIT COMES AS A SURPRISE?

Mokwena’s imminent departure comes as a surprise after he signed a new four-year contract with the club ahead of the start of the previous season. It was expected that he was still going to be with the team for quite some time.

He also revealed that he rejected some tempting offers because he wanted to see out the duration of his contract.

“I was tempted by some of the offers I received last season. I have never seen so many zeros as one offer from a North African Club,” he said on Metro FM.

“But I made a promise that I will see out the duration of my contract – it’s about loyalty. If I could be half the man that our chairman is, that would be phenomenal.

“Sundowns was extremely hurt and disappointed when I went to Pirates. Now I have to overcompensate and prove my loyalty and over prove myself. 

“For me to leave Sundowns would be putting up a middle finger at the chairman, the players and the supporters of the club. I’m rebuilding trust with our supporters, they were hurt when I went Pirates”

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.