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Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena: How I turned around the fortunes of Bafana Bafana striker Percy Tau

4:29 am AEDT 17/11/18
Rhulani Mokwena assistant coach of Orlando Pirates
The South African trainer, who has worked with astute local coaches Steve Komphela and Pitso Mosimane, revealed how he handles criticism

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena says he has developed a thick skin to wade off criticism.

The controversial tactician made headlines last month after he indicated that Bucs rivals Kaizer Chiefs were missing their former head coach Steve Komphela.

“If you want to be a great coach, you must be a life-long student of the beautiful game or any other sporting code," Mokwena said on Alex News

Many felt that the highly-rated local trainer was undermining current Amakhosi coach Giovanni Solinas and he came under scrutiny. 

"You should read and know and understand the latest trends in that sport and be able to keep abreast of issues," he continued.

“You must at all times align yourself with the [soccer] giants before you, as they are the walking encyclopedias of the sport but most importantly, develop a thick skin to wade off criticism and a soft heart to accept the criticism and use the good points," he added.

Mokwena joined Bucs prior to the start of the 2017/18 season having helped Mamelodi Sundowns win the Caf Champions League and PSL titles as an assistant coach.

The former Platinum Stars assistant coach played an important role in helping Percy Tau establish himself as one of South Africa's best players during his stay with Sundowns. 

“I had built such an amazing relationship with the mother of Percy such that whenever something went wrong at home, she would pick up the phone and tell me, ‘coach your boy is naughty again’," he revealed.

Tau inspired Sundowns to the 2017/18 PSL title and he was then sold to English Premier League (EPL) side Brighton and Hove Albion, who have since loaned him out to Belgian First Division B outfit Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.

"This is what it means to be a coach. Parents must trust you with their kids and the kids will eventually trust you too," he concluded.