Losses 'cut just as deep' for coach Rulani as he steps into the Pirates hot seat
The pain inflicted by yet another defeat for Orlando Pirates is as deep as it has always been for Rulani Mokwena, who was in charge of the Buccaneers when they were knocked out of the MTN8 quarterfinals by Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Mokwena was Bucs’ first assistant coach to Milutin Sredojevic, who left the club in a huff on Friday night, only to join Egyptian giants Zamalek, a club he denied he was heading to just a few days before his departure.
After the 1-0 defeat to Highlands, Mokwena was asked about his feelings following the first defeat as the man in charge of the team, as opposed to when he was assisting Sredojevic.
The loss against the Lions of the North, who are making their debut in the top eight competition, was the third in succession for Bucs following on the heels of others that came in the Absa Premiership against SuperSport United and in the Caf Champions League preliminary tie against Green Eagles of Zambia.
“I think the responsibility has only been different because of the title,” Mokwena said after Saturday’s game. “The amount of investment and the amount of work put in by the entire technical team has always amounted to the same sort of feeling, both in victory and in defeat.
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"And I would say it is the same even now. The difference is just the job title, but it cuts just as deep.
"You know, you struggle even to eat in the next few days or speak to anybody for the next few days because you feel the pain, regardless of the title you serve under. So, ja there’s no difference. The wounds are as deep and the scars are just as painful.”
The focus of the team Mokwena is talking about will have to begin on Tuesday night for Bucs when they visit AmaZulu FC in the Durban for their third league tie.
The AmaZulu match will come a few days before Pirates host Green Eagles at Orlando Stadium on Friday night, where they have to reverse the 1-0 defeat of the first leg if they are to make it to the first round of the money-spinning competition.