“There was pressure to end a winless streak”

They don’t do it as often as their Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs, but Orlando Pirates this week opened their doors to the media ahead of returning to Absa Premiership action following a much-needed Fifa break.

Interim coach Rulani Mokwena admitted that there was pressure to end a winless streak that has stretched to six matches – four of which he has been in charge of since the abrupt departure of Micho Sredojevic last month.

Pirates host Chippa United on Saturday at Orlando Stadium, a fixture made even more significant by the fact that Mokwena is still looking for his first win as head coach and the team is looking to stop the rot.

“I think this (Fifa) break came at the right time,” he told the media. “We spoke about it before and ours was just to focus on trying to work on some tactical and technical issues that we found with regards to our game model.”

Mokwena added that, since taking over the reins from Sredojevic, he’s felt that the Pirates players also needed to work on their mental strength.

“It’s important to remind them of who they are and what they represent. So we used the break to also work on the phycological aspect. All we have done also is to try and bring back the confidence – and you can see at training we are focusing on group dynamics and improving the moral and the camaraderie within the squad,” the coach explained.

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