Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Mokete Tsotetsi: I’d rather face Nurkovic than Mhango

Mokete Tsotetsi: I’d rather face Nurkovic than Mhango

Samir Nurkovic and Rushine De Reuck

Ahead of this week’s enticing Soweto derby match, we caught up with former Kaizer Chiefs defender Mokete Tsotetsi, who is now a professional coach. He shares with us his expert analysis on what could possibly unfold in the derby and who he thinks will win the league.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Banele Pikwa: Mr Tsotesi, how are you doing? How’s life after retirement? 

Mokete Tsotetsi: I’m good, thanks my brother. All is well, but there are those challenges that cause ups and downs – otherwise, all is well I can say.

BP: Challenges are part of life. So, what are you currently busy with?

MT: I’ve been involved with coaching in the past few seasons, mostly in the ABC Motsepe league. I started as an assistant coach at EC Bees FC where we won the league, but unfortunately, we failed in the play-offs. I then relocated to Gauteng to be head coach of Maccabi FC and again we won the league and gained promotion to the GladAfrica Championship. Unfortunately, things happened, and yeah, I’m now looking and hoping for a team again. But all in all, it’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m grateful for everything that has happened.

BP: You’ve done really well and let’s hope something will come up. Professional coaching nowadays is about hiring and firing.

MT: That’s true my brother and there’s nothing we can do. The demands are very high, but it’s part of our job, what can we say.

Amakhosi fans

BP: There’s a big Soweto derby coming up and there’s a lot at stake. What do you think will happen in this derby?

MT: I have to say this will be a very interesting game because it’s been a long time where we saw both Pirates and Chiefs playing a derby with both teams still in the title race so it will be very challenging. I think Orlando Pirates have turned things around under (Josef) Zinnbauer and they have improved big time, not only have they closed the gap on Chiefs, but they have managed to minimize those defensive mistakes they were making at the beginning of the season. I think Chiefs need it the most and there’s a lot of pressure now from them. Yes, both teams have the pressure but Chiefs will need it more so we are in for a good game. I think this is a match that will please the supporters with goals like how we saw in the last derby.

BP: As a former defender which striker would you choose to face between Samir Nurkovic and Gabadinho Mhango?

MT: This is a tough one because they are both very good strikers with different capabilities. Nurkovic is more of a natural number nine that’s powerful and dangerous in the air while Mhango is the quick type that likes to take defenders on, so they are very different. But if I were to choose, I’d rather face Nurkovic because I was also a player that was strong physically and I was very strong in the air, though you’d have to be extremely smart because Nurkovic is an intelligent striker. I wasn’t the quickest defender so players like Mhango can be a handful for me, but I knew how to prepare myself against such players. But they are both very good players who know how to create space for themselves.

Kaizer Chiefs star Samir Nurkovic

BP: As a coach, where do you think this game can be won and lost?

MT: The team that will win will benefit a lot from transition because I think it will be end-to-end type of game with Pirates taking the game to Chiefs because they have to win in order to stay in the title race and that’s where Chiefs can capitalize in those open spaces. If Pirates go all-out, then Chiefs can have a good chance of catching them on the counter. Chiefs are also good with long balls so them sitting deep and waiting for Pirates, then pump those long balls searching for [Khama] Billiat or Nurkovic could work also. But it will be a very tricky game and like I said, the supporters will love this one. For Pirates, I think they will have the most chances because they have good creative players like [Thembinkosi] Lorch, [Vincent] Pule, [Luvuyo] Memela and Mhango these guys will cause a lot of problems for Kaizer Chiefs, and if they score first Chiefs, they will be in big trouble because they will be forced to attack and we know they don’t have the quickest players so they will struggle dealing with the pace of Orlando Pirates.

BP: The gap is now six points. Which team will be more under pressure coming into this game?

MT:  There’s definitely pressure on both teams but I think Chiefs did most of the work early and now it’s just about maintaining their lead at the top while others are still trying to catch Chiefs. So, I can say it’s advantage Chiefs if they draw but that will also favour Sundowns as they are four points behind. Both teams should go for a win so there’s pressure on both teams.

BP: There’s a lot of permutations right now but who do you tip to win the league?

MT: At this stage, it’s not clear and any of the three sides can win the league. Wits is still in the race as well but I think any of the top three can win if they work harder. For Chiefs, everything is in their hands. If they win their games, they will be champions so they need to maintain and keep the good work.

Orlando Pirates star Innocent Maela
BP: With Mamelodi Sundowns being involved in the CAF Champions League, don’t you think that can affect them?

MT: I don’t think so. They have been in this situation for a very long time now and coach Pitso [Mosimane] is a very clever person. He knows how to balance and make players focused on both competitions, so I really don’t see their involvement in the Champions League affecting them. Whenever they travel to play CAF, they come back stronger. They get better every time so you can see how much they gain from playing in Africa.

BP:  Which players have you worked with in the ABC league that are now in the PSL?

MT: I’ve worked with Siphelele Shozi, who is now at Baroka, I’ve also worked with Nicolus Motaung who’s at Polokwane City and Tsepho Legostso who is at Celtic ,but I’ve worked with a lot of exciting players who will emerge soon and I can say as a young coach, I’m on the right track.

PSL coaches Cavin Johnson and Steve Komphela
BP: Any plans of you one day being in the PSL?

MT: Yes, the plan now is to try be an assistant and learn from the local coaches that are doing well guys like Pitso Mosimane, Steve Komphela, Lehlohonolo Seema or even Clinton Larson, these are some of the coaches I’d like to learn from because I also share the same passion as them. I won’t rush anything; I’ll take my time and see how it goes. But everything is in God’s hands and I’m still young so it’s important to be patient.

BP: Thank you so much for your time and I hope one day we see you in the PSL.

MT: Thanks a lot my brother, take care.

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