Mokwena blows a fuse over Sundowns woes

By Michael Madyira

Mamelodi Sundowns will face a tough test when they meet Esperance in a CAF Champions League semi-final, first-leg match in Rades, Tunisia, on Saturday.

Masandawana have been unconvincing in their last seven games across different competitions and that could make their fans nervous when they step onto the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi pitch.

The difficult run of form has brought angry remarks from Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena.

From complaining about a busy fixture schedule to criticising referees, the angry side of Mokwena has shown, amid his men not being their usual selves.

“We were training on Sunday and we played a match on Monday and then we are travelling on an 11 to 12-hour flight,” Mokwena told the media.

“Then on Saturday, we are playing and we must come back to play against Sekhukhune [on Tuesday]. Who is going to feel sorry for us?”

Demanding fixture schedules as well as punishing trips travelling across the continent is something the Brazilians have been accustomed to over the years, but Mokwena appears to be making it an issue now.

Sundowns travelled to Tunisia on Tuesday fresh from Monday’s 2-2 Premier Soccer League draw with Moroka Swallows.

Refereeing controversy took centre stage in that match and in most cases, Masandawana would let it lie – but this time around, Mokwena was left fuming.

“Both [Swallows] goals are offside,” Mokwena said with anger.

“The first goal is offside and the second goal is offside. I don’t need an explanation, I study the laws of the game. I haven’t spoken about the referees the entire season. This time I will speak because that was not a mistake.”

He went on to express his views on why South Africa has few match officials on the Fifa panel.  

“There is not even a South African referee for friendly games,” he added. “Even a friendly of Mauritania here. That should reflect the state of the situation.”

Ahead of facing Esperance, Mokwena says he expects “some hostility” in Tunisia as he prepares his men for a tough encounter.

Pictured above: Mamelodi Sundowns players.

Image source: Mamelodi Sundowns

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