Rhulani stresses focus amid Bafana fuss

Nedbank Cup

Mokwena has been duly rewarded for his sterling work at club level of late by being invited to work with the South African men’s senior national team for their upcoming four-nations tournament in Zambia later this month.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns deputy has been instrumental in the Buccaneers’ resurgence under coach Milutin Sredojevic, since his arrival at the start of this season.

With Pirates still having two games in the Nedbank Cup and Absa Premiership before then, the young, budding tactician insists he is fully focused on the task at hand before thinking about any Bafana prospects, for which he also still needs chairman Irvin Khoza's approval.

“There are two critical reasons I can’t really comment at this stage. Firstly, because of the professional that I am, I think we have some very important fixtures this week and a lot of focus needs to be on that,” Mokwena tells KickOff.com.

“For tomorrow night’s match against Cape Town City, I’m fully aware of the responsibility and demands that come with being involved with Orlando Pirates and trying to ensure that the club gets through to the [Nedbank Cup] quarterfinals – this is my immediate focus.

“Thereafter we have a very important match against Golden Arrows on Saturday, so being wrapped up in your own work and fully focused on contributing to the standard that we expect based on this season, a lot of energy and focus goes towards that.

“Secondly, it would be premature to comment because I haven’t received official correspondence and I’m yet to sit and talk to the chairman of the club to get his views on the situation.

“Being an Orlando Pirates assistant coach means that I’ve got to be given their blessing and the approval from the chairman, because I’m just a servant of the club so it’s about following protocol and to get guidance from our chairman.”

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However, being the diligent student that he is, Mokwena confirms that, should he get the club’s approval, doing duty for his country, albeit on a temporary basis, is one of the honours he has looked forward to for much of his coaching development.

“I’m humbled and I’m honoured to be offered an opportunity to serve my nation. I think anybody who regards himself as being part of the country has aims, goals and aspirations to serve his nation and represent his people in whatever capacity,” he adds.

“At the same time, you are also honoured to get the recognition from arguably one of the best European coaches that has come to our country. To be presented with the opportunity means: 1. It gives me the chance to continue with my growth and my apprenticeship as a coach, to learn from one of the best in the industry and to learn from some of the top players our country has to offer.

“2. It’s also to impart the little bit of knowledge I carry in my head on a greater stage, meaning awesome possibilities for growth and that’s really, to be honest with you, my sentiments on the issue.”