'A strong coach will not find excuses,' says Galaxy coach Ramović about Mokwena

30 November 2023 - 16:09
By Sithembiso Dindi
TS Galaxy coach Sead Ramovic during their Carling Knockout Cup media day at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix TS Galaxy coach Sead Ramovic during their Carling Knockout Cup media day at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Outspoken TS Galaxy coach Sead Ramović has taken a swipe at Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Rulani Mokwena, saying the Brazilians boss produces excuses when his team loses against the Rockets.

Ramović was speaking before his team's Carling Knockout Cup semifinal against AmaZulu at Moses Stadium in Durban on Sunday (3pm).

The German coach said he was not pleased when he heard Mokwena complained about missing seven players after being dumped out of the Carling last 16 by Galaxy.

Sundowns — without their Bafana Bafana stars who played for the national team in their 1-1 friendly draw against Ivory Coast in Abidjan the night before — staged a comeback from 2-0 down only to lose to Ramović’s men via penalties at Mbombela Stadium on October 18.

The cup tie was moved forward — after initial resistance to alter its calendar by the Premier Soccer League was ended by Confederation of African Football intervention — to make space for Downs’ participation in Caf’s new African Football League, which they went on to win.

Ramović believes Mokwena’s comments were disrespectful and said Sundowns’ boss needs to give credit when it’s due.

“We don’t want to find excuses such as the other coaches do [when they lose]. For example, when we won against Sundowns, what were the excuses from the [opposition] coach?” Ramović said.

“He didn’t play with seven players, so where is the respect for the players who played? International players such as [Marcelo] Allende who they bought for R60m and then they bought the guy from Stellenbosch [Junior Mendieta] — how much did they pay, R12m? 

“Then you had [Bongani] Zungu and you had a lot of other national players and you came up with an excuse to disrespect my staff, my players and myself.

“A strong coach will not find an excuse. He will say, 'fantastic job from Galaxy, they had a fantastic game plan and they beat us, and we show respect for what they did'.

“He tried to find excuses because he couldn’t play seven players. But he also disrespected his own team and players.

“If he says he can’t win with the players they have, the team they played against us can win the league. They are top players. It’s means we did a fantastic job.”

Ramović also pointed out that when Galaxy stunned Sundowns 1-0 in a DStv Premiership match in August last season, Mokwena said it was because the Mpumalanga team employed catenaccio, the famed Italian system that focuses on nullifying opponents' attacks and preventing goalscoring opportunities.

“I don’t have an excuse that we sold seven players. I play with the players we find, other good ones from the NFD [first division], [our] U23s, and try to improve them,” Ramović said.

“We were happy to win against Sundowns because the first time we won against him [Mokwena], it was that we played catenaccio where I didn’t understand catenaccio.

“I can promise we will beat them again. We won this because we deserved to win. Every time when we win I hear they didn’t play well and that’s why we won.

“They didn’t play better because we didn’t let them play better. So we also have to get credit.

“You know me, every time after the game we give credit to the opponents and coaching staff from the opponents. It’s time they give us praise for a great win.”