Mokwena breaks silence on Lorch incident

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has revealed that he expressed his disappointment to Thembikosi Lorch after the player called him crying over the incident that trended on social media.

Lorch, 30, won his first league title, helping Sundowns to a seventh consecutive league title after joining the club in January.

Despite missing out on an ‘Invincibles’ campaign following their 1-0 defeat to Cape Town Town, Sundowns celebrated their 2023/24 league title on Saturday.

The celebrations appeared to extend into the weekend, with Lorch going live on her social media account on Sunday night, celebrating with two friends, apparently under the influence, sending national football fans into a frenzy.

Mokwena reacted to the incident on Monday night on radio but insisted he cannot go into too much detail because he still needs to address the matter with his player after having a brief telephone chat on Monday morning.

“Like everyone else, Lorch is human, like me, who makes mistakes, who is imperfect,” Mokwena told Andile Ncube in metrofm.

“I’m probably even more imperfect than him and I probably make more mistakes than him.

“But I can’t go deeper into this topic because I still have to discuss it with him face to face. He called me on the phone and was crying. And that broke me, for sure.

“Because I am close to my players, when my players cry and get emotional, I get emotional, I cry and I feel their pain too. And that’s how close I am to them.

“But I don’t want to talk too much about it except to say that I’m extremely disappointed because I told him on the phone.

“And the rest of what we will discuss and say will be in person. Especially since my biggest disappointment is the live post (on Instagram). I’ve seen Phil Foden and I’ve seen some of the best players having fun and celebrating the successes of the title…

“But we also have to understand the role we play in society, which says ours is to inspire, educate and serve. We have a more important role than people think.

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“And part of the career of a professional footballer is not only taking care of his talent, but taking care of his career. And taking care of your career means managing even all the other career-related things.”

Thembinkosi Lorch of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates the goal with Rhulani Mokwena, Head Coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2024 Nedbank Cup match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville on March 17, 2024 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Mokwena then reiterated that he will have a private conversation with his player about his behavior, admitting that even Lorch’s father called him.

“First I have to talk to him in person and he has to listen to my feelings about the incident and how I see it as a whole,” she added.

“And that involves what I know from the past, what I know from the time I spent with him at the previous Pirates club. And that is a discussion that unfortunately is not for public consumption.

“As I said, it is individual, it is one on one and it must be carried out with respect, but also with a clear understanding of what is allowed and tolerated at Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club and what is not.”

Sundowns players had two days off after the title celebration but will return to Chloorkop on Tuesday to prepare for Saturday’s Nedbank Cup final against Lorch and Mokwena’s former club Pirates.

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