Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has received a warm welcome back to the club from a surprising individual – die-hard Sundowns fan Sello Piet Moyana, who infamously attacked Mokwena on the bench during a game a few years ago.
Moyana, who burst into the spotlight in 2018 when he attacked the Orlando Pirates bench during a game against Mamelodi Sundowns, has praised the return of the 35-year-old tactician.
Images of Moyana confronting Mokwena trended on social media and sports highlight reels on TV.
“Personally, I welcome the return of Rhulani. Sundowns is his home and that will not change,” Moyana told City Press.
“He is a good coach and will add value to the technical team like he did before. Our team had a lot of success when he was with us and now that he is back, we will have more.”
Sundowns confirmed the return of Mokwena in the middle of the week. He left for Orlando Pirates in 2017.
As assistant to Milutin Sredojevic, Mokwena developed a rivalry with his former team Sundowns.
Pirates twice finished as the runner-up to Sundowns in the Absa Premiership, and had some memorable clashes. Mokwena at times also exchanged some verbal jabs with Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Former Sundowns midfielder Bongani Zungu earned the ire of fans when he famously claimed that Mokwena, not Mosimane, was behind the success of the club.
The 42-year-old Moyana explained that Mokwena’s apparent disrespect was the reason he attacked him on the bench.
“After all that Sundowns did for his career, I felt that Rhulani was starting to be big-headed and was becoming disrespectful. Those things Zungu said about Rhulani being the mastermind of the club’s success was disrespectful.
“But what made me angry during that game and led me to go towards the Pirates bench was Rhulani’s behaviour on the bench. There was a point when he was shouting at the Sundowns bench after Gastón Sirino fouled Pirates player Xola Mlambo. That’s what drove me to jump over the fence.”
The Mamelodi-born fan explained what happened to him after he was accosted by Pirates’ security guards.
“When we got to the tunnel, the Pirates security wanted to beat me up, but I managed to escape. I ran away and took off the overalls I was wearing, then returned to the stands to watch the game,” he chuckled.
The proud Zion Christian Church member said he wanted to meet Mokwena in future and call a truce.
“I would love to meet him one day and speak with him. I would like to explain to him why I did it and ask for forgiveness,” he said.
Moyana revealed that the incident cost him his job as a waiter at a restaurant in Pretoria.
“I used to work at a restaurant in Brooklyn and the bosses saw me on TV. The next time I went to work, I was told that I was a hooligan and was fired,” he said.
After months without seeing his team play, Moyana is hoping to see improvements from Sundowns with the assistant now back on the technical team. Mokwena joined the team at their training camp in Rustenburg, North West, during the week.
Moyana and his wife Angela are expecting a baby boy in January and he plans to give him an interesting name.
“We have two kids and are expecting a boy soon. I think I will name him Rhulani,” he said.