‘Rulani changed his mind at the airport about joining Pitso at Ahly’

“We had already booked flights for him and had his passport, but I was made aware two hours before we left that coach Rulani Mokwena had decided not to go to Egypt anymore.”

That is according to MT Sports marketing and management director, Moira Tlhagale, who told the Johannesburg High Court that Mokwena was supposed to be part of Pitso Mosimane’s technical team at Al Ahly.

The club’s demand that Mosimane repay commission in agent’s fees totaling about R8.6-million has sparked an intense legal dispute between the decorated coach and Sundowns.

Sundowns’ accusations

Sundowns accuses Mosimane of pressuring club client employees to break their contracts, which was one of many incidents and letters that the high court heard.

In a separate letter read by Mosimane’s legal representative, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, sent by Sundowns legal representative law firm Bowmans, previously known as Bowman Gilfillan, it states that Mosimane agreed that he would not poach employees associated with Sundowns after he was released from his contract.

Two former Sundowns employees who Mosimane allegedly pouched are Musi Matlaba, the head analyst, and Kabelo Rangoaga, a strength and conditioning fitness coach.

They are said to have resigned with immediate effect without giving the requisite legal notice terms of their written and verbal contract of employment, respectively, to join Mosimane at Al Ahly.

Last-minute change of mind

Mokwena, who is the current Sundowns coach and was part of Mosimanes’ technical team as one of the assistants, is said to have initially agreed to leave Sundowns but changed his mind at the airport.

“We arrived in Egypt on the 2nd of October [2020], and that is the day that this e-mail came. At that time, we had Musi and Kabelo left with us,” Tlhagale told the court on Friday.

“I must also note that after the termination of the contract by the president [Patrice Motsepe] and the club, we also had coach Rulani, who was part of the team that was supposed to leave with us.

“Even at that point, coach Rulani had given me his passport because, obviously, when you go to Egypt, you need to have a visa.”

Flights booked for Rulani

“We had already booked flights for him, but I was made to believe by his agent, Steve Kapeluschnik, that two hours before we left, Rulani decided that he was not going with us anymore because his condition of staying at Sundowns was that he needed to be made a head coach.

“And at that time, it is known that he became a co-coach with Manqoba Mngqithi. I am not sure of what the contents of coach Rulani were because, if you remember, he had left Sundowns to coach the Orlando Pirates and later moved to Chippa United.

“But at that time, he was at the Pirates, and coach Pitso wanted coach Rulani back at Sundowns to help him because they had a very good working relationship.

“Fast forward, when the team went into the bio-bubble in 2020 around July, coach Rulani restarted his employment with Mamelodi Sundowns.

“But coach Rulani was always going with us to Egypt until the last two hours.”

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