Sundowns’ Mokwena – this is a special group of players

‘Don’t worry because there will be no sense of complacency and I will not allow it,’ said the Sundowns head coach.

If you think Mamelodi Sundowns will take their foot of the pedal after bagging the African Football League (AFL), then you’re wrong.

The message is clear from Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena who has issued a warning to his players if they get complacent.

The Brazilians are expected to resume their season at home against unknown side Mauritanian FC Nouadhibou in a CAF Champions League group stage match on November 24.

“They know they will be in trouble with me (if they become complacent) there will be big issues,” Mokwena warned.

“But this is a special group of players, believe me. We lost in Casablanca 2-1 and we had a training session the next day and I can tell you that we trained like a team that has just lost 5-0.

“The mentality from that training session was unbelievable and this is what makes this group so special, their loyalty and commitment, so don’t worry because there will be no sense of complacency and I will not allow it.

“I don’t think you give this group enough credit. When we go to Cairo and Morocco, I see the amount of respect this group gets. You should hear what the Wydad goalkeeper said to me after the game about this team which was incredible. Gianni Infantino the president of FIFA said to me that this team plays unbelievable football and we are still not satisfied, we think we can play better and we will improve.”

Heightened expectations

Expectations will be heightened for Mokwena to deliver the biggest club competition on the African continent which is the champions league. Sundowns got the better of Petro de Luanda, Al-Ahly and Wydad to lift the AFL cup.

“We have to improve our performances and to improve that, we need all our players available. So it’s about that (avoiding injuries) before we even think about the champions league or PSL but there is that clear understanding that we have to get better,” the 36-year-old said.

“It’s difficult at this moment to play every three days with the travelling and accumulation of fatigue. I watch the PSL and coaches are struggling with injuries. They don’t even have the burden of travelling to North Africa and still be able to balance the programme. They also say at press conferences how difficult it is to maintain the same level of performance and that’s what makes this achievement even sweeter.”