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Rulani Mokwena Should Be Celebrated by All South Africans Says Orlando Pirates Stalwart
- Rulani Mokwena has South African and African football at his young feet despite some criticism
- Orlando Pirates godfather Augusto Palacios stated the nation must appreciate Mokwena's talent
- Mokwena is often labelled with unsavoury terms for his similarities with a popular Spanish coach
Success will always bring a hefty list of detractors. Well before leading Mamelodi Sundowns to victory in the African Football League, Rulani Mokwena had a fair share of nay-sayers.
A long-time servant of Orlando Pirates, Augusto Palacios has now told football lovers to embrace Mokwena's talent instead of trying to bring him down.
Nephew of South African footballing icon, Jomo Sono, Mokwena has relative royalty running through him. Opponents often cite this as having given him preference over other coaches climbing the ranks.
Combine this with his open worship of Manchester City's Pep Guardiola and the Sundowns coach often becomes a soft target for those who have labelled him 'Pep-lite'.
Palacios ran Orlando Pirates' youth development structures for almost 20 years and worked with Mokwena as he was making a name for himself in the local game.
The Peruvian tactician is adamant the coach has earned his place at the top. Mokwena coached the juniors at Platinum Stars and became an assistant at Orlando Pirates before joining Pitso Mosimane at Sundowns.
Speaking to TimesLive, Palacios said:
"He is a coach who works for 24 hours. I congratulate him for what he has achieved so far in his career. He has been patient and the most important thing about him is that he has passion for football."
At 36 years old, Mokwena is streaks ahead of his nearest rival and many feel the limitations of his success are for him to decide. Having developed a thick skin, he shrugs off any negativity, as reported by Daily Maverick.
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Currently on a four-year deal that expires in 2027, Mokwena has time to cement his legacy in Africa.
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Mokwena to step out of Mosimane's shadow
Sports Brief recently reported on Rulani Mokwena needing to win the CAF CL to silence all doubters.
Mamelodi Sundowns may have won the inaugural AFL but the CAF continental crown is still elusive.
Sundowns have not won the competition since 2016 and begin the new campaign on November 26.