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Mokwena on Sundowns vs Pirates: ‘You can rest assured there will be no level of complacency’

16 December 2021 - 17:49 By Marc Strydom
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says there is no chance his team will be complacent against Orlando Pirates.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says there is no chance his team will be complacent against Orlando Pirates.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

As Mamelodi Sundowns’ victory-guzzling monster wades into a matchup with Orlando Pirates on the back of two defeats against the Buccaneers in 11 outings, Brazilians coach Rulani Mokwena stressed there would be “no chance” of complacency from his team.

Downs, who host Pirates in the DStv Premiership at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night (kickoff 7.30pm), have become prolific at swallowing wins with a gluttonous glee that has resembled Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster’s dietary habits.

Mokwena said if any team deserves complacency it is Downs, the four-time successive Premiership champions who have opened a 15-point lead in the opening half of 2021-22. Sundowns’ last defeat in any competition was against African champions Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League 28 matches ago, on May 15.

“It is a big ‘if’, and I’ll tell you why it’s a big ‘if’, but if there is any level of complacency for that match, and if there is one team that can be forgiven for being complacent, it is Mamelodi Sundowns,” Mokwena said.

“If you’ve lost one game over two seasons, your last was against Al Ahly, you’ve gone as many as we have [unbeaten]; if there is a team that has the right, and has bought itself the right, to be complacent, it is this team.

“This team doesn’t get enough recognition for the amount of work they have done. Being two points away from possibly the best performance in a calendar year and setting so many records in the process.

“Winning games, playing at such a high level of consistency and aggression. Fighting, like they did against Baroka [a 2-1 home win to Downs on Tuesday], to win football matches — you can forgive them if for one or two games they don’t play well.

“But as I said it’s a big ‘if’ because I don’t think, first, for us in the change room that [complacency] is possible. And second, with the type of characters we have in the change room I don’t think that is possible.

“We will go, like we do to every match, to play to win. We will host Pirates, but we will host them with the drive to try to win the football match.

“You can rest assured that there will be no level of complacency from our side — no chance.”

Sundowns-Pirates is one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes on the Premiership calendar. That said, Bucs have appeared never to recover from the infamous 6-0 hammering they received at Loftus amid a violent pitch invasion in November 2016.

Downs have only grown in strength in recent clashes against Bucs, notching four wins in a row, and with a record of seven victories, two draws and two losses in the teams’ last 11 meetings.