Rhulani Mokwena lifts lid on Andile Jali's cold shoulder at Mamelodi Sundowns

Andile Jali, Mamelodi SundownsBackpagePix
  • Jali and other players were constantly on Mokwena's mind
  • Mokwena acknowledges he cannot please everyone
  • Downs coach still trying to find a way to make all players happy

WHAT HAPPENED: If you have as many quality players at your disposal as Mokwena does at Mamelodi Sundowns, a headache of sorts is bound to be something that happens on a regular basis. You would imagine that Mokwena's headache is when he has to select his team from the galaxy of stars - but no, what stresses the Downs mentor the most is those who hardly play.

When Mokwena was appointed to the hot seat last October, a fan favourite - the now club-less Jali - saw his involvement decline along with players like Thabiso Kutumela, Bradley Ralani and Mosa Lebusa, just to mention a few. By his own admission, Mokwena agrees that all of these players could possibly walk into the starting line-up of most PSL teams.

WHAT WAS SAID: "We are all here to serve the club and to help this club to achieve and be successful. Dealing with the change room and trying to make everybody happy is very difficult," Mokwena told The Pitchside Podcast.

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"I spend more time thinking about Ralani, Kutumela or Mosa and I ask myself how I can make these guys happier. I am trying but it is so difficult. In the end, a footballer is a human being and happiness is derived from being on the pitch and playing football matches."

AND WHAT MORE: "When you are the coach, you spend most of your time thinking about the players who are not playing. I am always thinking about the players who are on the outside and deserve to be playing because of their quality because they would not be at Sundowns," he continued.

"They are selfless and they support the team, so players like that who still give themselves to the team, as a coach you feel like you owe them something. Even if it is difficult to give [everybody chances] because the team has built communication that is nonverbal."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sundowns are expected to finalise the release of a couple of players as some contracts are ending. At the same time, Bafana Ba Style are anticipating a couple of new arrivals while some, such as Grant Margeman has returned from his loan spell at crosstown rivals SuperSport United.

WHAT'S NEXT: Sundowns are basking in the sun after celebrating a sixth successive league crown and will reconvene to prepare for next season in a couple of weeks.

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