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The former Orlando Pirates assistant coach pointed out that it was very important for him not to lose weight against the KwaZulu-Natal clothes
Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena lamented the bad weather for his side from being able to play their usual passing game against the Lamontville Golden Arrows on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians reached an important away goal through Pavol Safranko in their MTN8 semi-final meeting in the first stage against Abafana Bes’thende, which ended in a 1-1 draw at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban.
The rainy match was played on a wet pitch and the Arrows opened the scoring through Nqobeko Dlamini’s sixth minute goal as Abafana Bes’thende looked set to return to winning ways of losing 3-1 to SuperSport United in a PSL game Wednesday.
Mokwena praised the Tshwane giants for showing good resilience and character, while praising the team’s tactical change that led to fightback when their goal scorer Safranko was a substitute.
“Hard play against a very good side,” Mokwena said SuperSport TV.
“An injured side that lost to SuperSport. Good resilience from our team. Very good match. Very good character and very important not to lose because it allows us to keep preparing for another match.
“We changed things a little bit. We agreed [Thabiso] Kutumela and Pavol. We tried to change the structure a bit. It allowed us to keep them. “
After several obvious shirt pulling incidents, Safranko got himself booked. The manager of Sundrows was not happy.
Mokwena insisted he did not use the bad weather as an excuse and stressed the importance of their away goal with the Sundowns, who were scheduled to host the Arrows in the second leg in Pretoria on 28 September.
“The conditions also did not help much. We will not make excuses. We are a passing team. When you play against the wind, especially in the first half, your build-ups are a bit compromised,” he added.
“We got the equalizer and the away goal, which is very important and extremely crucial.”
Sundowns hopes to go all the way and win the MTN8 title for the first time since 2007, when the competition was still known as the SAA Supa 8 Cup.