Pressure to plan for games in short periods weighs on Rulani

“Heavy is the head that carries the crown. We asked for the responsibility, and the responsibility comes with what it comes with, and we have to make ends meet.”

These were the profound words of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena, who has since expressed the amount of demand and energy it takes for coaches to plan promptly for matches.

In a space of seven days, Sundowns would have played three games in three different competitions.

Fatigue is setting in

They face off against the University of Pretoria in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Friday night.

The match gets under way at 7pm.

On Friday last week, the Sundowns were on continental duty when they beat the Young Africans on penalties to advance to the CAF Champions League semifinals.

They then travelled to Cape Town to entertain relegation-threatened Cape Town Spurs in the DStv Premiership, where they won the match 1-0 on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media before the start of the Nedbank Cup press conference in Sandton on Wednesday, Mokwena shared how fatigued he was.

He admitted that having to plan for games in a short space of time takes as much of a toll on the coaches as it does on the players.

No time for rest

“Heavy is the head that carries the crown, isn’t it? So, we asked for the responsibility, and the responsibility comes with what it comes with, and we have to make ends meet,” Mokwena responded to Sunday World.

“On the flight back from Cape Town, I was talking to coach Michael Loftman, and he asked me about my plans for off-season, and I was like: ‘Are you already thinking about off-season? He said we must think about these situations and maybe do a club visit in Europe’.

“And I said to him: ‘You are so far ahead of me, and I am already thinking about the next game, which is Tuks’.

“I already started with my analysis on the flight, of which the two hours gave me an opportunity to get one game through, and it is what it is, because the players expect information about the performances and about the opponent on Friday.”

Competing for every trophy on offer

Despite the Brazilians being the favourites to win the tie and advance to the next stage, Mokwena emphasised the importance of winning the game and continuing to compete for every trophy that is up for grabs this season.

“It’s going to be a big game for us because we haven’t been in this position in a very long time, and at this time of the season, we are still competing for three more trophies.

“So, we just have to make sure as the leadership that we are on top of our game and show the energy and desire that the players have to breed off, and it starts with us.

“Needs must be met, and we just have to give more and more towards the end of the season.”

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