Rulani Mokwena: Pitso and Pep won the Champions League once!

Rulani Mokwena: Pitso and Pep won the Champions League once!

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena used his predecessor Pitso Mosimane and – at an even higher level, Pep Guardiola – as examples in explaining why winning the CAF Champions League is so difficult.

Mokwena took over from Mosimane, who spent eight years at Chloorkop and managed to clinch the continental title once in 2016, a little over three years ago as co-coach with Manqoba Mngqithi before being given the role as a stand alone.

It was only last season that Guardiola went all the way in the UEFA version with Manchester City since his arrival eight years ago.

Last week City were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Real Madrid.

The Sundowns mentor is adamant that winning this competition is no walk in the park.

"I look at the Champions League with such a different perspective because I've been here before. I was an assistant coach to the previous coach for a very, very long time and the previous coach was here for eight years and he had eight years to try and to win the Champions League and we only won the Champions League once,” Mokwena said.

“We only played the semifinal of the Champions League once, well two times because the other time we got into the final but after that, in eight years we've only played the semifinal once and lost in the semifinal. Instead, then we played in the semifinal twice if you want to call it that because we played and then we won it. So, in eight years under the previous coach, we've played the semifinal only twice and won the Champions League once."

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With Sundowns facing Esperance in the second and decisive leg for a spot in the final of this year’s edition of the Champions League, Mokwena wants more credit for their consistency in the tournament.

He points to Guardiola’s record or lack thereof.

"This is my second season if you want to call it that and we've done back-to-back semifinals already and sometimes I have that feeling that people don't appreciate that because of how they perceive the expectations and you only have to go a position like Manchester City for example, where they lost to a team like Real Madrid and Manchester City with all the investment, with all the players and the profile of the players.

“Pep has only won the Champions League once in 12 years. It's called the Champions League because it's the league of champions. It's all the teams that have won trophies in their domestic leagues and competitions."