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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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    Mamelodi Sundowns and Coach Rhulani Mokwena set to wave goodbye to the dynasty amidst shock exit rumours

    The sun is potentially setting on the ever-shining Yellow Nation…

    Mamelodi Sundowns head coach, Rhulani Mokwena, is set for an abrupt exit at the helm of the coaching staff after a shocking turn of events, only 12 months into his 4-year contract.

    According to SABC Sport, tensions have risen beyond boiling temperature, and have affected the atmosphere in the Chloorkop dressing room.

    Latest reports say the friction lies between the club’s Sporting Director, Flemming Berg, and the 37-year-old Sundowns coach, Rhulani Mokwena.

    How severe is the damage?

    It is believed the final straw between the two parties was a disagreement over the strategy in the current transfer market. Mamelodi Sundowns have already announced the departures of players that have captured the hearts of many fans, such as Gaston Sirino and Bongani Zungu. Additionally, Brian Onyango and Thabiso Kutumela were also announced to be departing the club earlier this week, upon expiry of their contracts in Chloorkop.

    The head coach, Mokwena, recently gave insight on these departures, labelling some of them as, “not his decision.” He further reiterated how if it were up to him, he would have kept Bongani Zungu after contract expiry. This open disagreement with the decisions made by upper management is sure to have been the final nail in the coffin, raising eyebrows on the direction Masandawana are headed in.

    It is not the first time the animated coach has raised questions over management. Shortly after guiding The Yellow Nation to yet another DSTV Premiership title, he appeared in a press conference, where he told reporters he is tired, and feels underappreciated for the work he does at the club. Who he was referring to was unclear, but the picture was painted for many spectators. This was not received well by Berg, and other members in top management, according to a source in the club who preferred to stay anonymous.

    Berg’s biggest mission as Sporting Director for the upcoming 2024/25 season is to tighten the grip on the financial spend and restrict Coach Mokwena’s influence on transfers. This is largely because of the coach’s failure to meet his targets last season, as well as a conflict over the controversial signing of January arrival, Thembinkosi Lorch, whom Berg felt, was not the right signing at that point of the season.

    Despite an amazing domestic season, the goal for this year was very clear considering the amount of money spent to satisfy the needs of the coach. Failure to deliver in the CAF Champions League (CAFCL) left a sour taste in the mouths of both fans and upper management at the club. Masandawana also missed out on an opportunity to win the Nedbank Cup, after falling short to Orlando Pirates.

    As a result, Berg lost his patience with the Soweto born coach, leaving a very thin chance of a workable solution for both at the club.

    Here’s what fans on X had to say about the potential departure of Rhulani Mokwena…

    @SAFootClassics posted, “Sundowns players pay tribute to Rhulani Mokwena. Images by Williams, Mokoena, Mudau, Modiba, Mvala, Zwane and Lorch.”

    @MS_Sharpeville posted, “According to Mazola Molefe, the January signings by Mamelodi Sundowns were a compromise between Flemming Berg & Rhulani Mokwena. Matias Esquivel & Tashreeq Matthews were Berg’s players while Thembinkosi Lorch & Zuko Mdunyelwa were Mokwena’s signings. #Sundowns

    Coach Rhulani Mokwena’s absence from the first preseason training on Monday spoke volumes. The disconnect between the parties involved was put on display in front of returning players, technical staff and media.

    Nonetheless, Mokwena’s success over the last two seasons speaks for itself. He potentially leaves a two-time DSTV Premiership Coach of the Year, 2024 African Football League champion and 2024 DSTV Premiership champion.

    Despite the ups and downs, it is clear that his players would take a bullet for him, which is shown in the appreciation they have given him on their respective social media pages in the last few hours. Story posts were exchanged on Instagram from players, led by veteran midfielder, Themba Zwane and team captain, Ronwen Williams- signifying the impact he had on his players.

    Main image: Soccer Laduma

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