Rulani Mokwena, the coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, had every reason to celebrate beat their long-standing rival, Kaizer Chiefs. However, he chose to remain humble in the face of triumph. The Brazilians had just secured a narrow 2-1 win (3-2 on aggregate) over Kaizer Chiefs in an intense MTN8 semifinal second leg at the packed Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, thereby securing their place in the MTN8 final.
The Premier Candidate
The premier candidate for the party, Chris Pappas, was announced on Monday. At the age of 32, Pappas leads Umgeni, the only DA-governed municipality in the province. Despite the significant responsibility placed upon him, Pappas appeared unfazed and ready to take on the challenge.
Sundowns beat Chiefs
Mokwena’s demeanor was noticeably different after Saturday’s game. When asked about his serious expression, he explained that he was overwhelmed by emotions and extreme pride. He expressed immense pride in his group of players for their hard work and for earning the opportunity to play in a cup final.
The Game Highlights
The game got off to an electrifying start when Peter Shalulile scored a goal just 10 seconds into the match. This happened when Chiefs goalkeeper Brandon Petersen failed to clear a back-pass from Ashley du Preez, allowing Shalulile to score from an awkward angle inside the opening minute.
Chiefs managed to level the game in the 33rd minute when Du Preez confidently beat Ronwen Williams from the penalty spot. However, their hard work was undone towards the end of the first half when Lucas Ribeiro Costa outmaneuvered Reeve Frosler and set up Shalulile for his second goal of the match.
Reflections on the Match
Mokwena acknowledged that Sundowns were pushed all the way by a determined Chiefs side. He admitted that it was a difficult game but emphasized that semifinals are always challenging and are played to be won like finals. He also highlighted that beating two of their biggest rivals in one week was no easy feat.