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‘He was in tears’: Rulani Mokwena on emotional Lorch phone call

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has revealed the emotional aftermath of Thembinkosi Lorch’s controversial Instagram Live video, sharing details of a tearful phone call from the star midfielder.

Lorch’s DStv Premiership title celebrations took a controversial turn after a social media livestream showed the 30-year-old partying with two female friends, seemingly under the influence of alcohol.

Lorch, who joined Sundowns in January and played a key role in securing their seventh consecutive league title, found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons following the team’s victory celebrations. On Monday, the footage sparked a heated debate among domestic football fans, with many criticising his behaviour.

In an interview with Andile Ncube on MetroFM, Mokwena described Lorch’s remorse and distress.


“He phoned me, and he was in tears. And that broke me, for sure,” Mokwena said. The Sundowns coach, known for his close relationship with his players, admitted to being deeply affected by Lorch’s emotional state.

“Because I’m close to my players when my players are crying and are emotional, I get emotional, and I cry, and I feel their pain too. And that’s how close I am with them.”

Thembinkosi Lorch of Mamelodi Sundowns during a call
Thembinkosi Lorch

However, he didn’t shy away from expressing his disappointment, particularly over Lorch’s decision to broadcast the celebration live on social media.

While expressing his disappointment over the incident, Mokwena emphasised his empathy for the player’s human fallibility. “Like everybody else, Lorch is human. Like me, who makes mistakes, who is imperfect. I’m probably even more imperfect than him and I probably make more mistakes than him,” he acknowledged.

Mokwena also highlighted the broader responsibilities of professional footballers, emphasising their role as role models and influencers in society. “We also have to understand the role we hold in society, that says ours is to inspire and educate and serve. We’ve got a bigger role than just what people think,” he stated.

He stressed the importance of managing their careers holistically, including the aspects that extend beyond on-field talent.

The coach refrained from delving deeper into the specifics of their conversation, indicating that he intended to discuss the matter further with Lorch in person. However, his revelation of Lorch’s tearful apology sheds light on the emotional toll the incident has taken on the player.

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