Mokwena: I will always appreciate what Pirates has done for me

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A German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

That is also the view of Chippa United head coach Rulani Mokwena, who admits that he made a lot of mistakes while at Orlando Pirates but has learned from those mistakes.

“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,” said Mokwena, who is on loan to Chippa from Pirates for the remainder of the 2019/20 Premier Soccer League season (PSL) season.

“I tell you honestly I am a better person than before I arrived at Pirates. I’m stronger‚ less emotional, thicker-skinned. Because I made a lot of mistakes‚ and I’ve learned from those mistakes,” – Mokwena. Picture courtesy of Orlando Pirates.

“If I was not given that opportunity, I don’t think I would have learned those lessons anywhere else. So, I’m very sober in my thinking,” he added.

The young tactician had a difficult spell as interim coach of Pirates with the Soweto giants not producing the desired results. Chairman of the club Irvin Khoza then decided to relieve Mokwena of his duties as interim coach and replaced him with Josef Zinnbauer which didn’t quite sit well with Mokwena as he took a lengthy leave of absence just after the arrival of the German mentor.

“But the reality of it is‚ and you also learn over time‚ that as much as you respect the institution‚ and you love the institution‚ particularly in our [coaches’] environment‚ you don’t attach yourself to clubs.

“As much as you have grown up as an Orlando Pirates supporter‚ and as much as you have a great relationship … I mean‚ the chairman [Khoza] is and will always be a father figure to me,” – Mokwena. 
“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],” he continued.

“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.

“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.

“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,” concluded the Soweto-born coach.

RELATED STORY: Komphela: They [Chippa United] need to protect Rulani

By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

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