Sundowns lost their prized assistant to Soweto club Orlando Pirates at the start of the campaign, in a move that shocked many of the Tshwane side’s supporters.
Mamelodi Sundowns forward Percy Tau says losing coach Rhulani Mokwena caused no doubt that they would go on to lift the Absa Premiership title.
Mokwena was influential alongside Pitso Mosimane and Manqoba Mngqithiin the club’s historic 2016 CAF Champions League and 2017 CAF Super Cup triumphs.
Talk over whether the loss of the budding tactician would make The Brazilians less of a force subsequently arose, but Tau denies that there were any doubts in the dressing room.
“There were no doubts, he was important to the senior team and to us [as players], but we knew we still had two great coaches that would help us,” said Tau.
“It’s part of football that sometimes we’ll lose some [members of the team] and sometimes we’ll get some [new personnel] – it’s always like that.
“But we knew we would be strong because, even before coach Rhulani came up [to the first team], the team was strong and won the league before, while he was with the academy.”
With Pirates having come closest to Downs in this season’s title race, it was apparent that Mokwena was instrumental alongside Milutin Sredojevic and Benson Mhlongo, and Tau gives his former mentor his due.
“We knew we’ll still be strong, but he’s a top coach – he’s got new ideas and he’s improving also. He likes to implement and try new stuff,” Tau added.
“But we still have great coaches that will keep the team going, and I had no doubt because we had the belief that we would win the league, irrespective of him leaving. He’s a great coach, but we have so much to use to at Sundowns.”