Rulani Mokwena has said the presence of so many familiar faces made it feel “normal” coming back to his first training session as an assistant-coach again of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mokwena was back in Sundowns’ technical staff‚ and the position he filled when the team won the 2016 Caf Champions League‚ and part of his first training session on Friday at the Brazilians’ training camp at Royal Marang Hotel in Rustenburg.
“It felt normal in the sense that these were family members who only temporarily we were distant from each other‚ for a couple of years‚” Downs’ assistant-coach said.
“But I’ve come back to a very familiar environment with a lot of familiar faces.
"And an environment that has continued to keep its ethos of professionalism‚ hard work success and the drive to want to be the most competitive‚ the most successful‚ and the No.1 club not only in South Africa but Africa.
“It’s always exciting because most of these players who are at Sundowns are people who I have got very‚ very good relations with.
“I left Sundowns knowing that they are not just players who I know but family.
"And they knew that in me they had a family member for life because of the good relationship that we had.”
Mokwena left Sundowns to join Orlando Pirates as an assistant in August 2017.
This season served a spell as caretaker-coach at Bucs before being loaned for a game as head coach of Chippa United in March.
The 33-year-old coaching prodigy was released by Chippa and Pirates last month.
“It feels good‚ and I’m humbled that the opportunity presented itself.
"And I’ve got to take this opportunity also to thank the president [Patrice Motsepe]‚ who’s always been a father figure and someone who has always maintained very good relations with me‚ even when I left Mamelodi Sundowns.
“And also the head coach‚ coach [Pitso Mosimane]‚ who has taught me so much with regards to what it is to be a good coach‚ and has continued to demonstrate his qualities by winning trophies and dominating South African football.”
Mokwena said he felt at ease at his first session.
“It was fantastic – a warm welcome and the coaches welcomed me very well. The session was very well organised‚” he said.
“The players gave me the normal amount of respect that they gave me before I left.
"Because there are a lot of familiar faces like Hlompho Kekana‚ Denis Onyango‚ Themba Zwane and Kennedy Mweene.