Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena is known and often lauded for his innovation as a young tactician, and a new trend was witnessed in the team’s training on Wednesday.
Pirates hosted the media at their base at Rand Stadium in the build-up to their upcoming Absa Premiership clash at home to Chippa United on Saturday, and KickOff.com was present as they introduced a new way of incentivising players’ efforts in training.
Mokwena was spotted handing over a cup to a small group within his squad after they completed their morning session, which sparked a buzz on social media.
The former Bucs assistant has since provided insight into their thinking, as he explained the need to feed the players’ addiction for the thrill of lifting silverware.
“The group [entire team] has recently come from a very good win against Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup, and lifting trophies is addictive,” explained Mokwena.
“It’s a feeling that you get, and I don’t want to get into the biological elements of endorphins and which hormones are released when you achieve success, but because of that feeling, you then are addicted and you want more of that.
“The same thing that happens with technology and an addiction that society faces with smartphones, is the same thing that happens with footballers or sportsman when they win.
“We’ve tried to work on that, not just by talking about it or showing videos on it and looking at international trends – because we do work on a lot of those aspects – but also on the pitch to try and improve the competitiveness of our training sessions.”
Mokwena also highlighted that the importance is not merely lifting a trophy, but to endure and rise above the challenges in training before a trophy then becomes the final outcome.
“At the same time, it’s to also make players understand that the product is a result of the process, so the lifting of the trophy is not just the lifting of the trophy – it’s the biproduct that comes at the end,” he added.
“The most important thing is the process, which is what we’re going through at the moment, but you’ve got to try and take them through the stages and simulate the sort of environments so that they get comfortable in difficult circumstances when they know they’ve got to produce results.
“But once you’ve simulated them and they find comfort in that, it becomes a little easier for them to adapt to those situations during game times.”