Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena disagrees with the narrative that suggests Downs are undermining the league, especially rivals SuperSport United, from whom they have taken so many players.
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For the past five seasons, the league title has found solace at Sundowns’ base in Chlorkop as they have enjoyed unprecedented league success.
“This thing does not start now, it continues with Sundowns. Clubs are also entitled to enter into these negotiations and discussions with Sundowns. It is their prerogative not to enter into an agreement. And when they sign an agreement, they feel that they are being mutilated afterwards…well, no one forced them to sign these agreements,” said Mokwena.
“I know how experienced the management of SuperSport is. Stanley Matthews (CEO of SuperSport) is someone I have a lot of respect for and he knows exactly how to run his club. Who are we to sit here and dictate how SuperSport should do its business? At the end of the day, people do what’s best for them,” he added.
“Our focus is on coaching the team, creating a good team structure and making sure we have the best squad on the pitch.
One of the players who recently joined Masandavan from Matsatsants A Pitori is Ronwen Williams, who has scored in all five games for Downs in the DStv Premier League. Mokwena will not be involved in making Williams the first choice when it comes to goalkeepers, ahead of Denis Anyang, Kennedy Mwine and Rayaad Peters.
“Imagine the level of disrespect if we just say that Ronwen should make the team. We have two of the most famous goalkeepers on the continent: Kennedy Mwine and Denis Anyanga,” added Mokwena.
“Competition helps us at Sundowns and that is football. There’s always competition for spots and they all know they have to fight for positions and so we’re not in that space where we have somebody who’s a guaranteed starter.
“Ronwen has done a great job at the moment with the pressure on him to come in and perform to try and keep his position as the national team goalkeeper and that means he has to play at Sundowns. He came in knowing he was going to compete with the best goalkeepers in the league and unfortunately only one can play.”