Reports & Previews

Mokwena: Pirates shaped me as a coach

Rhulani Mokwena says he previously turned down the chance to work with a number of teams including Bafana Bafana to stay with Orlando Pirates.

The Bucs coach, who is currently with Chippa United, has Pirates blood running through his veins.

Son of Julius Sono and nephew to Jomo Sono, Mokwena grew up a Pirates supporter.

He joined the club after his time coaching at Mamelodi Sundowns and such was his commitment that he decided to remain in Soweto when South Africa came calling.

Speaking to Goal, Mokwena said: "When I came to Pirates I left Sundowns‚ and it was not an easy decision to make. But it was a decision that I made because of my family background and the attachment that as a family we had to the club.

"And even while at Pirates I was asked to go to Bafana Bafana as an assistant to Stuart Baxter and I sacrificed representing my nation for Pirates."

He added: "There were offers to be a head coach elsewhere and I sacrificed that to stay on at Pirates‚ because there was a bigger vision. And the vision was more the chairman’s [Irvin Khoza] vision that he sold to me."

Mokwena is forever grateful to Pirates for their role in his career and can see him self returning to coach at the club in the future.

"I will always appreciate what Pirates has done for me giving me the opportunity to start my head coaching career there‚ and also the lessons I learned under very difficult circumstances – they’ve shaped me‚ they’ve made me stronger," he said.

"We've seen these things happen before. We've seen Jose Mourinho leave Chelsea and come back. So I cannot close the door to that [returning to Bucs].

"But I don’t have control of that. What I do have control over is my own capacity and own growth as a coach. Whether that means growing with or away from Pirates‚ the most important thing for me is that I continue to grow."