Mokwena points to pitch conditions as factor in Sundowns’ MTN8 final loss 

Home » Mokwena points to pitch conditions as factor in Sundowns’ MTN8 final loss 

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says pitch conditions contributed to the club’s MTN8 final defeat to Orlando Pirates on Saturday evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Mokwena, searching for explanations for his team’s loss, revealed that Peter Shalulile played the final with an injury while also insisting that Pirates had “zero chances over 120 minutes” of football.

One might be forgiven for thinking Mokwena is a sore loser as he did not take responsibility for the 3-1 defeat on penalties following a goalless draw in extra-time.

Instead, the Soweto-born tactician blamed the wind, pitch and an injured player despite having the best squad in the PSL.

He even complained about the referee on the night, Abongile Tom, stating that the match official should have awarded Sundowns a penalty. 

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani MOKWENA


 “The conditions (whether) were quite difficult. The pitch was not the best and quite long, heavy and slow,” Mokwena told the media after the game. “Even though they tried to water it. But it sounds like sour grapes when you try to speak about it when you don’t win, you know.” In an interview on SABC 1, Mokwena added: “That’s football. If you leave it to penalties, it’s a lottery. Congratulations to Orlando Pirates for winning it.

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“Still very proud of players, we struggled, we’ve had so many issues. But the boys gave it their all. Peter played with an injury, and in the end, he couldn’t go any longer.

“But commiserations to Mamelodi Sundowns, congratulations to Pirates. We are not sore losers. It was difficult, and there was a penalty that we didn’t get. That was a clear penalty. But let’s not go there. It’s sour grapes, isn’t it?”

Rulani Mokwena’s penalty remarks came after two crucial decisions by referee Tom, who handled the final. The first one was Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine, who looked to have fouled Lebohang Maboe inside the box.

But on the replays, it was clear that Chaine was impeded by Shalulile before he made the foul. The second one was when Bandile Shandu appeared to have handled the ball in the box.

Mokwena and his charges must dust themselves off and refocus after the MTN8 final loss, as they still have the CAF Champions League, Carling Cup, Nedbank Cup, and potentially the African Football League to compete for after the FIFA international break.

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