Rhulani Mokwena defends rotating Orlando Pirates squad


Mokwena has shuffled through 23 different players in his starting line-ups since taking over from Milutin Sredojevic nine games ago, which has left plenty questions regarding the constant changes.

The 32-year-old coach has kept his line-up constant just once so far, deploying the same starting XI from his 2-1 victory over Chippa United into battle against Bidvest Wits, but the momentum was unable to carry his side through as they lost 4-3.

Prior to the Soweto Derby this weekend, Mokwena has since explained the reason behind his rotation, emphasising the importance of affording his squad of 33 players a fair amount of game-time.

 “There’s two parts to it. It’s obviously in terms of group dynamics, we’re trying to give everybody game-time and we try to keep everybody happy,” explained Mokwena.

“It’s a big squad, and when you’ve got a big squad, you’ve got to try to manage the big squad; part of doing that is trying to give minutes to everybody.

“The other side is one you’ve never heard me talk about, which is our injuries. We’ve had a lot of injuries this season, but it’s not something we complain about because we prepare everyone when we go into pre-season.

“We do certain things in a certain way to build principles in our game forms and make sure that everybody that has to partake in a match comes in and knows what needs to be done.

“So, it’s two parts – it’s from a technical, tactical and psychological one, because it’s important, that while we are going through what we’re going through, to try and manage the dynamics within the group.

“And the other one is that we’ve had a lot of injuries this season – if I could give you the list, we’ll be here until tomorrow – but you don’t hear us talking about it because we don’t complain; we’ve got a big squad and we soldier on and don’t make excuses.”