‘He wants attention’: Sundowns coach Mokwena fires back at Ramović

28 February 2024 - 10:10
By Marc Strydom
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena celebrates with his players after their DStv Premiership win against AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena celebrates with his players after their DStv Premiership win against AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Tuesday night.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says his TS Galaxy counterpart Sead Ramović “wants attention”.

Mokwena, speaking after Sundowns went 12 points clear in the DStv Premiership by beating AmaZulu 3-0 at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night, was responding to a statement by Ramović in a press conference last week.

Ramović's comments were the latest in a mudslinging feud that goes back to when the Galaxy coach accused Mokwena of making excuses in November.

Last week, at a Nedbank Cup press conference at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) offices in Parktown, Mokwena said he called Ramović about the statements, and the Galaxy coach apologised.

The next day, at another Nedbank briefing at the PSL, Ramović, who had not been on the list to speak, dropped multiple F-bombs detailing a phone call the Galaxy coach alleged he received from Mokwena in December.

On Tuesday night Mokwena was initially reluctant to comment, saying, with a hint of sarcasm: “No you don’t need to hear my side of the story. Let’s leave it as it is. He is right, and let’s leave him to be right. I am wrong, I’m the bad guy.”

Pressed further, he said: “If I have to say something to Sead, again, I will pick up the phone and I will say it [to him].

“I do not think it is for the public because then we go into a space we are not supposed to go into.

“I don’t mind when he comes for me. There are a lot of coaches who have come for me.

“But when you start to say, ‘The club [Sundowns] has spent so much’, you are also borderline disrespecting the Motsepe family who are people who give so much of their hard-earned money to football.

“You saw the other day they gave money to scholars for study debts and things like that. And then you talk like that.

“Sometimes as coaches you have to be careful because it’s very difficult, because I will sit here and say things. But why should I say things about TS Galaxy and forget that it’s not Sead’s club, it’s Tim Sukazi’s club, and I’ve got a lot of respect for Tim.

“So I can’t sit here and talk other things. There’s a lot of things I could tell you.

“Just go back to the recording you got from SoccerLaduma, during a meeting, and you had things that were said there.

“There are a lot of things that could be said, but I can’t go into that space because I have to respect South Africans and people who work very hard, like Tim, to run a football club and do the things he has done.

“Sead, all he is crying for, I don’t know why you guys can’t hear the underlying message — [is that] he has won five games in a row, give him attention. Give him praise. He wants attention.

“He’s won five games in a row, no-one is talking. Put him in the headlines. Do it guys.

“He’s won five games, he’s told you, he’s got eight assists from the left-back. Give him what he wants. Because if you don’t he goes and seeks it, and then he comes for people like myself.

“Give him the headlines. You see what he is doing, he is crying out for attention. So give it to him a little bit. Spend more time with him, link him to clubs, put him [in the media] — he wants that so give him everything.”

Sundowns meet TP Mazembe in their final Caf Champions League Group A game this weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday. The day and venue are up in the air due to a clash with the Bulls' United Rugby Championship game against the Stormers at Loftus on Saturday.

After that the Brazilians play Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday next week.

Mokwena was asked if he would shake Ramović's hand in that game.

“Yeah, if he wants to shake my hand I’ll shake his hand. No problem.”