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‘Show me any team that plays a day after FIFA break’: Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has bemoaned playing a day after the FIFA break, following their elimination from the Carling Knockout Cup.

Sundowns lost 5-4 on penalties against TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday to bow out of the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup. The match finished 2-2 after extra-time.

The Brazilians missed seven of their key players who featured in Bafana Bafana’s 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast. The mouth-watering international friendly was played at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Tuesday night.

Themba Zwane, Mthobi Mvala, Khuliso Mudau, Ronwen Williams, Grant Kekana, Teboho Mokoena and Aubrey Modiba are the players who were unavailable for the CKO encounter against Galaxy.

Meanwhile, Sundowns were forced to move their cup tie against the Rockets to midweek to accommodate the African Football League. The AFL gets underway on Saturday, 21 October.


Mokwena felt it was unfair to play a day after the FIFA break without their key players.

“Firstly, congratulations to Sundowns players for a gallant fight against all odds. We made three big errors and they cost us,” Mokwena said on SuperSport TV.

Mamelodi Sundowns in action against TS Galaxy in the Carling Knockout Cup
Mamelodi Sundowns eliminated from the Carling Knockout Cup by TS Galaxy

“We still fought and showed a very good character. I said to them [players] just before the penalties that if they thought I love them 100%, then they must know I love them 200%.

“Congratulations to TS Galaxy and I’m proud of my players for representing the club and fighting very hard.

“But it counts for nothing doesn’t it? Who cares that you are 2-0 down and you are 10-man, who cares?

“You tell me of any club in the world, any club that plays a day after the FIFA break. Who cares that the Footballer of the Season [Teboho Mokoena] is not here.

“And who cares that Goalkeeper of the Season [Ronwen Williams] is not here..? Who cares that you don’t have the Defender of the Season [Khuliso Mudau]?

“Everyone will say these are excuses and people will celebrate our downfall but that’s okay because as human beings we plan but God decides.”

“And if God decides that we shouldn’t win, then as one of his kids, I will just trust in his wisdom.”

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