Thembinkosi Lorch: Sundowns Coach Rulani Mokwena Sets Record Straight on Midfielder's Playing Time

Thembinkosi Lorch: Sundowns Coach Rulani Mokwena Sets Record Straight on Midfielder's Playing Time

Robert Abong'o
May 1, 2024 at 8:17 AM
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T. Lorch
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Mamelodi Sundowns
South Africa
  • Rulani Mokwena has responded to criticism of Thembinkosi Lorch's playing time
  • The Mamelodi Sundowns coach stated personal relationships were not a priority
  • Mokwena believes Lorch is being 'unfairly judged' due to the congested schedule

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Mamelodi Sundowns head coach, Rulani Mokwena, has responded to claims that Thembinkosi Lorch's regular playing time is due to their close friendship.

The midfielder, who joined Masandawana in January, has faced criticism for his performances, with some fans suggesting he hasn't justified his game time.

Mokwena brushed off the suggestions, stressing that his focus is on the team's success, not personal relationships.

 Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder, Thembinkosi Lorch, if facing criticism from fans. Photo: iDiskiTimes.
Thembinkosi Lorch has been the subject of criticism since joining Mamelodi Sundowns in January 2024. Photo: iDiskiTimes.
Source: Twitter

Mokwena remarked, as quoted by iDiski Times:

"Let me make one thing clear: my priority is winning games and trophies for Mamelodi Sundowns. While it's true that I have strong bonds with my players, including Lorch, our relationships are built on honesty and trust."

The Sundowns coach drew inspiration from Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, who recently talked about the importance of building relationships with players.

Mokwena echoed this sentiment, adding that his players know they can rely on him as a friend and a brother, both on and off the pitch.

Lorch has scored four goals and provided one assist in his advanced playmaker role, but the coach believes he's being unfairly judged due to the congested fixture schedule.

He also pointed out that even experienced players require an adaptation period.

As reported by Goal, the former Orlando Pirates star was the hero with a second-half brace when the club booked their spot in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Maritzburg United on March 17.

Lorch explains why Mokwena was hard on him

Sports Brief also reported that Lorch expressed gratitude for Mokwena's guidance and patience in helping him improve his scoring record.

He has been a regular starter from on the bench for the Brazilians, a strategy the manager was quick to explain once questioned by the media.

Mokwena said that approach was part of assimilating new signings into the squad, including Lorch, Zuko Mdunyelwa, and Tashreeq Matthews.

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Robert Abong'o
Editor - Africa Team
South Africa