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Orlando Pirates coach Mokwena refuses to throw players 'under the bus'

15:26 BST 21/10/2019
Orlando Pirates players celebrate Thembinkosi Lorch goal
The Buccaneers manager has praised his players for being honest and doing their best following their win over Stellies

Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena has explained his decisions following the introduction of goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands in their game against Stellenbosch FC in the Telkom Knockout Cup.

Although Mokwena stated that they have a selection criterion in place, he said all players go under the same scrutiny in training and it’s not just the goalkeeping department.

On the other hand, the young coach has vowed to protect his players but also urged them to take it one game at a time.

“I’ll never throw my players under the bus. I am proud of the Pirates players, they are honest and do the best that they can,” Mokwena told reporters as quoted by Independent Media.

“We’ll go back and practice more and more, keep improving the team because that’s what we always try to do. And that’s our focus. 

“We’ll continue to work hard on the training pitch. Two very important pillars in our team are hard-work and preparation.

"We are creating chances, but people have been talking about conceding goals, so can we congratulate the team about keeping a clean sheet.”

Coming back to the issue of team selection, where many raised concerns on the rate at which the Soweto giants conceded their goals, Mokwena explained why goalkeeper Joris Delle was dropped against Stellies.

“With regards to our selection, we’ve got a certain criterion that we use. It’s not just Wayne Sandilands,” continued Mokwena.

“We look at, obviously, form and mediocrity. And whoever deserves to play based on what we see at training.

“We take it one game at a time, be it a cup or league game. We always try to put the best team on the pitch for that match.”

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers face the possibility of being drawn against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in their quarter-final clash of the TKO Cup completion as the draw will be conducted on Tuesday.

In their upcoming Premier Soccer League (PSL) assignment, Pirates will travel to Stellenbosch for a rematch with coach Steve Barker’s troops, following their 1-0 cup win at the weekend.