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Rulani Mokwena on why 2018/19 PSL season is big for Orlando Pirates

14:16 EAT 02/07/2018
Orlando Pirates assistant coaches Benson Mhlongo and Rhulani Mokwena
Mokwena believes that the upcoming 2018/19 PSL campaign will be big for the Soweto giants as they will return to the Caf Champions League

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena has outlined the importance of a good pre-season preparation as the Ghosts take their camp to Mpumalanga.

The Soweto giants are hoping to land a trophy or two in the 2018/19 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season and have set up camp in Nelspruit as well as travel to Zambia later this week.

Whilst releasing players such as Brighton Mhlongo and Reyaad Norodien, the club has recently made nine signings to beef up their squad.

Linda Mntambo, Paseka Mako, Vincent Pule, Brilliant Khuzwayo and Asavela Mbekile are among the new faces in the Buccanneers’ camp and Mokwena has emphasised the importance of introducing the players to the club’s style of play as they begin their journey with the 1995 African champions.

Having spent his first full season with Pirates, Mokwena acknowledged that a football season is not a sprint, but a marathon and getting ready on time is important.

“You cannot just wake up one day and run the Comrades Marathon. You start with 5km, then 10km, 20km all the way up until the body can handle the longer distances,” said Mokwena to the club website.

“That is effectively what preseason is for. The body needs to be fully prepared for the physical demands of a tough season,” he continued.

“We know that a season is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and we know that for any team that wants to win this marathon, the planning needs to be right.” said the coach.

“This is a big season for the Club. We have more games to play than last year therefore we need to make sure that our periodisation is done properly," asserted Mokwena.

“We also welcome a couple of new faces who have not yet been exposed to our game model. We will use the time in camp to familiarise the players with a new style of play and this will obviously entail both theoretical and practical applications," explained the former Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach.

“The challenge however, is that we have players coming in from different teams and with that comes different ideas and understandings of how to play," added the mentor.

“Our job in pre-season is to deconstruct what they know and formulate a new blueprint for the upcoming season,” concluded Milutin Sredojevic's right hand man.

Meanwhile, players such as defender Ayanda Gcaba have left the club whilst coach Sredojevic is yet to decide on the futures of Wayne Sandilands, Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane following the arrival of Khuzwayo who left Kaizer Chiefs at the end of last season.

On the other hand, the club has bee linked with Bidvest Wits and Bafana Bafana skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo and talks are reportedly underway between the two clubs.