Delay In Rulani Contract Talks Stalls New Signings At Downs?

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Rulani Mokwena
Rulani Mokwena

Soccer Laduma can exclusively reveal that Mamelodi Sundowns have made a decision to defer contract negotiations with head coach Rulani Mokwena to a later stage.

The Siya crew broke the news last year that Sundowns had opened talks with Mokwena over the renewal of his contract, despite his current agreement running out only in June 2024.

It is understood that the decision to engage the young tactician over new contract terms was necessitated by the technical team changes, where he was elevated to a new role as the sole head coach, with Manqoba Mngqithi demoted as a senior coach and Steve Komphela promoted as an assistant coach.

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Siya sources have informed the crew, as previously reported, that Mokwena will have a big say on the setup of the new technical team, with Mngqithi and Komphela's contracts coming to an end when the season concludes, although the Brazilians have an option to extend the former Kaizer Chiefs coach's contract.

Mokwena has already shown the door two members of the technical team, fitness and conditioning coach Riedoh Berdien and assistant goalkeeper coach Marcus Mashilo and promised that more changes are imminent.

However, as reported in edition 1307 of Soccer Laduma, available at your nearest outlet, the Tshwane giants decided to delay negotiations over Mokwena's contract for a few more weeks, following internal discussions.

"It's better to focus on the league at the moment and of course the big assignment with the CAF Champions League group stages getting underway in February," a source privy to what goes on behind the scenes at Chloorkop informed the Siya crew.

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Given Sundowns' healthy lead at the top of the table and their form, head coach Mokwena is safe, even contractually but Mngqithi and Komphela will be slightly concerned with time.

This publication previously reported that the 36-year old's new contract negotiations also centres around him having to choose his own backroom staff and until those contract talks are concluded, the new technical team cannot be assembled.

The delay in sorting out the uncertainty in the technical team could have also impacted the club's transfer movements.

Sundowns are yet to make signings or release players in the January transfer window and part of the reasons could lie with Mokwena yet to contractually have full control over the team as a new head coach.

The erudite tactician could be looking to get off his reign, with regards to movements behind the scenes, on a clean slate, with his new technical team settled and having the authority to make critical decisions.

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