Morena excited to see prodigal son Mokwena return to Sundowns

14 July 2020 - 08:00 By SAZI HADEBE
Thapelo Morena showing off his tattoos during a Mamelodi Sundowns media open day at Chloorkop on September 20, 2019.
Thapelo Morena showing off his tattoos during a Mamelodi Sundowns media open day at Chloorkop on September 20, 2019.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns’ utility player Thaphelo Morena has described the return of assistant coach Rulani Mokwena to the club as a “big boost”. 

Mokwena was a part of the  technical team headed by incumbent coach Pitso Mosimane that led Sundowns to the Caf Champions League in 2016.

He left in the following year and joined Orlando Pirates in July 2017.

Mokwena joined the Sundowns team in camp at the Royal Marang Hotel in Rustenburg on Friday following his reappointment as the second assistant to Mosimane last week. 

“It’s a big boost to the team,” said Morena.

“We know how he works and we know what he’s willing to do for the team. So for me I’m really happy and all in all we’re just going to give him all the support.

"We’ll welcome him as if he never left the club.” 

Mokwena joined the Bucs as assistant to Milutin Sredojevic and they led the club to two runners-up spots behind Sundowns in the last two seasons. 

Sredojevic departed early in the season last year, leaving Mokwena to take charge of the Bucs as caretaker coach until December. 

The arrival of German coach Josef Zinnbauer saw Mokwena leaving Bucs on loan to join Chippa United as head coach in February, but his arrival in the Eastern Cape coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The pandemic halted his progress as the Premier Soccer League suspended the league in mid-March. 

Mokwena’s less than six-month stay at Chippa was not extended and by the time it finished at the end of June, his contract at Pirates had also expired.

This meant he was free to join any club and Sundowns were happy to welcome him back.

Morena said Mokwena would play a significant role in helping Sundowns achieve the treble this season if the league resumes as expected in the coming weeks. 

Sundowns have already captured the Telkom Knockout and are now in the semi-finals of Nedbank Cup. 

The Brazilians are also very much in the league race where a tussle between them and league leaders Kaizer Chiefs is likely to light up the PSL in the coming weeks. 

“I think for us it’s just to play each and every game the way it comes and make sure that we collect maximum points and we’ll see at the end of the season what’s going to happen.”