5/22/2024 12:00:00 AM

Rulani Mokwena's Nedbank Cup record

PIC: Rulani Mokwena

Rulani Mokwena claimed the 2022 Nedbank Cup title as a co-coach alongside Manqoba Mngqithi, but now that he is in sole charge of Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to add to that when The Brazilians face Orlando Pirates in this year’s decider at the Mbombela Stadium on June 1 (kick-off 15h00).

It is set to be a titanic clash and the first time two of South Africa’s so-called ‘Big 3’ have met in the Nedbank Cup decider since 2008.

Mokwena has a superb record in the competition too, he has taken charge of 16 games as a co-coach or sole head coach and only suffered defeat outright once, a quarterfinal loss to Stellenbosch FC in 2023.

Sundowns are going for a ‘Treble’ this season having already claimed the DStv Premiership and African Football League titles, and adding South Africa’s premier cup competition to that list would be a major achievement.
In the 16-game run under Mokwena (and for the first nine of those Mngqithi as well), Sundowns have scored an impressive 48 goals and conceded only 13. They defeated Marumo Gallants 2-1 in the 2022 decider at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng.

If you stretch Sundowns’ run back to include the final year of Pitso Mosimane’s tenure as coach (when Mokwena and Mngqithi were his assistants), they have a single defeat in an astonishing 21 Nedbank Cup games.
Here is a list of Mokwena’s Nedbank Cup games as either co-coach or sole head coach:



February 3, 2021 – Last 32

Another Nedbank Cup classic that went into extra-time before Sundowns claimed the victory. Stellenbosch took the lead through Ashley du Preez, but Sundowns were back on level terms shortly afterwards when Peter Shalulile equalised. Sirino was sure he had given his side the victory in injury-time at the end of the game, but incredibly Phathutshedzo Nange drew Stellies level again. Shalulile was not done though, he popped up with his second in extra-time to settle the contest.



March 10, 2021 – Last 16

An incredibly fast start gave Sundowns a comfortable win in the Last 16 with Shalulile getting his third of the campaign to set them on their way. They scored three goals in five minutes as Lebohang Maboe and Lesedi Kapinga, his first for the club, also rattled City. Andile Jali added a penalty just before the half-hour mark as The Brazilians took their foot off the pedal with the job very much done.



April 15, 2021 – Quarterfinals

A superb show of strength from Sundowns as they brushed aside Soweto giants Pirates, though the teams had been locked at 1-1 at halftime. Shalulile gave Sundowns the lead before Tshegofatso Mabasa equalised for The Buccaneers. But the home team ran away with it in the second half when Themba Zwane, Kapinga and Hlompho Kekana all scored. The latter’s goal took him to 11 in the competition, at the time a record number for any player.



April 18, 2021 – Semifinals

After extra-time; TTM won 6-5 on penalties

Sundowns might still be wondering how they did not win this game outright as they created a host of chances, but a mixture of poor finishing and the superb form of TTM goalkeeper Washington Arubi kept them at bay for 120 minutes. The match went to the lottery of penalties and there Arubi again came up trumps as he helped the eventual winners into the final in a 6-5 victory on post-game spot-kicks. It was one of the great goalkeeping performances in the history of the competition.



February 4, 2022 – Last 32

A rare away game in this run as Sundowns travelled to then second-tier leaders Richards Bay, but had no trouble in brushing aside their opponents. New signing Surprise Ralani had them in front midway through the first half, before Rushine de Reuck, Pavol Safranko and Shalulile added further strikes after the break for another comprehensive win.


March 8, 2022 – Last 16

Sundowns came up against Free State third-tier side Mathaithai and despite going 2-0 up inside four minutes, had to wait until midway through the second period to make the scoreline more emphatic. They had a fast start via Ralani and Zwane, before a brace from Thabiso Kutumela made the tie absolutely safe. There were still more goals scored by Lebohang Maboe and Andile Jali as they remained ruthless to the end.   



April 9, 2022 – Quarterfinals

For the second round in a row Sundowns came up against third-tier opponents, this time in the form of Clinton Larsen’s Chatsworth-based Dynamos. Once again they were ruthless, racing into a 2-0 lead as Sirino and Kapinga scored inside 12 minutes. A Kermit Erasmus brace in the second half killed the contest, before Safranko added a late fifth.



April 30, 2022 – Semifinals

This was always going to be a tough away day in Durban against a hungry Royal AM side eager to prove a point in what was their maiden topflight season. But Sundowns’ quality ultimately shone through as they fought off a brave effort from their hosts. Aubrey Modiba put them in front just past the hour-mark, but veteran Thabo Matlaba equalised for the home side. Safranko came up with the winner however as he netted 15 minutes from the end.


May 28, 2022 – Final

This final last year seemed destined for the lottery of penalties until Thapelo Morena popped up with a 120th minute winner to seal the trophy for Sundowns. Shalulile had given The Brazilians a first half lead, but Sede Dion equalised for Gallants, who were appearing in their second successive final having changed names from TTM. That took the game to extra-time and just when it seemed like there would eb no winner, Morena fired in a shot to give Sundowns the glory. It was also sweet revenge for that semifinal penalties loss the year before. 



February 7, 2023 – Last 32

A new season, but Sundowns keep on winning, though they were given a bit of a scare in this one against promoted Richards Bay. They took the lead through Shalulile, but were pegged back by an Nkanyiso Zungu penalty. Sundowns turned the screw in the second half though as Mosa Lebusa and Shalulile again scored within 10 minutes of halftime. Katleho Makateng scored a late second for Richards Bay, but they could not force an equaliser in the time that remained. 



March 2, 2023 – Last 16

Sundowns clashed with Gallants for the third season in a row and it turned out to be a historic occasion. That is because Shalulile netted a hattrick that took his Nedbank Cup tally to 14 goals, now the outright highest scorer in the history of the competition. It was a superb individual display that showcased all his talent and predatory instincts around the box. Boitumelo Pheko scored what turned out to be a consolation for Gallants, but was not nearly enough.



April 15, 2023 – Quarterfinals

The only loss for Sundowns in the competition under Mokwena and it came despite them taking the lead against Stellenbosch at the Athlone Stadium. An unfortunate own goal for home goalkeeper Lee Langaveldt put them in front as the ball rebounded off the frame of the goal and went in off the gloveman. But the game turned in a nine-minute spell in the second half when Iqraam Rayners proved a thorn in the side of the visitors with a brace of goals to swing the tie in the favour of Stellenbosch as they held on for the win.



February 20, 2024 – Last 32

Sundowns met second-tier NB La Masia in the first round this year and it proved a comfortable win as they led 4-1 at the break and ended up scoring six. Sirino netted a hattrick to go with a superb free-kick from Argentine import Matías Esquivel, a rare strike from Terrence Mashego and a first goal in two years for Lebohang Maboe. It looked a tricky tie on paper, but Sundowns' quality shone through.   



March 17, 2024 – Last 16
Another clash with a second-tier side and again it looked like a potential banana-skin, but Sundowns eventually came through after a tense battle. Thembinkosi Lorch scored twice in the final; 16 minutes to hand them the win but they were made to sweat and there was some relief at the final whistle.



April 12, 2024 - Quarterfinals

After extra-time; Sundowns win 4-3 on penalties

For the third game in a row Sundowns faced second-tier opposition and this one proved the rightist of them all against promotion-chasing AmaTuks. Things looked good for The Brazilians early on when Lucas Ribeiro gave them the lead inside eight minutes, but Delano Abrahams equalised for the home side who held Sundowns through extra-time. That meant penalties and Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams proved the hero as he saved two spot-kicks to send his side through.



May 5, 2024 - Semifinals

A re-match with Stellenbosch and this time it was Sundowns who triumphed 2-1 at the Danie raven Stadium, though not without a fight. Khuliso Mudau and Lorch scored to put the visitors 2-0 up late on, before Shalulile missed a penalty to make it 3-0. When Genino Palace pulled a goal back for Stellenbosch it set up a grandstand finish, but the home side could not force the second goal they needed to draw level. The goal took Lorch's tally in the Nedbank Cup for his various clubs to 10, putting him among the leading all-time scorers in the competition.


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