How Mokwena saved Pirates defender Paseka Mako’s career

Paseka Mako is one of the consistent performers at Orlando Pirates, but chances are that his career would have turned out differently if it weren’t for Rulani Mokwena’s intervention.

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Mokwena stopped Mamelodi Sundowns from releasing him from their academy. A young Mako, was playing for the Downs under-19 side at the time and had habits of ill-discipline, just like his teammates.

“We had a top team, Percy Tau, the late Motjeka Madisha, Khayelihle Shoze and Paseka Mako. Keagan Dolly was also in that team but he was promoted earlier,” Mokwena said on podcast channel, Diski Talk.

“When I arrived to coach the Under-19s, they were on their way out and the club was prepared to give them their clearances. Paseka was not given great regard in the academy and I saw him playing and I said ‘my goodness, I can’t release a player like this’. I see now he plays mostly at left-back but he is playing way below the capacity that he has,” he said.

Mokwena, who admires the type of player that Mako is, got to work with him at the Buccaneers. He revealed that he was influential in convincing Micho Sredojevic to sign him from Chippa United.

“When I was at Pirates, I tried to bring him in from Chippa at the time and I wanted him to play in a more offensive position. He thrives in tight areas and close control.”

“The good football players see the action a step or two ahead but the best footballers are those who see the action in its completion.

“They see how it looks at the end and they drive that process and that’s why there is the importance of coaching with principles rather than the micro-control of every move and every step is very important. The principles are what govern your tactical culture on the pitch.

“Once you are able to have that, there is a little bit of space for the creativity and the quality of the players to be able to carry out these principles in a way where everybody understands how the picture should look like,” added Mokwena