RHULANI Mokwena had been contemplating a return to Mamelodi Sundowns when Chippa Mpengesi came knocking.
According to a source at the club, Mokwena was hankering for a move back to Downs, the team which helped shape his coaching career.
This was during the period when his frustration of sitting idly at Orlando Pirates grew.
“He was really keen to return to Sundowns. But the environment wasn’t right for him. Remember what happened during his time at (Orlando) Pirates… the incident at Loftus?” said a source.
“It was felt the supporters wouldn’t be as welcoming and the environment might not be conducive for him to work.”
Mokwena achieved success in his two-year stint as the second assistant coach to Pitso Mosimane when the Brazilians won domestic trophies, the Caf Champions League, as well as the Caf Super League.
But he wasn’t as successful at Bucs, failing to win the league as Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic’s assistant and later when he took charge as acting coach.
His time in the hot-seat lapsed in December when Josef Zinnbauer arrived to steer the directionless Bucs ship back on track.
The 35-year-old tactician admitted the arrival of the German coach prompted his departure from the club.
Failing to fit into the Zinnbauer’s technical team, Mokwena opted for a loan move to Chippa United.
He has admitted it was going to be a “difficult environment” to work with Zinnbauer, and a change of scenery would do his career the world of good.
“When the new Pirates coach arrived, and of course, through words and certain things, I could see that it was going to be a difficult environment for me to work in. People have different ways of working, ” Mokwena told radio listeners.
Mokwena’s detractors have been having a field day celebrating his failure at Bucs. And now he faces an unenviable task of guiding the Chilli Boys out of relegation danger.
But the biggest challenge for him, more than silencing his critics, would be to reassert his credentials and prove he is fitting of a head coaching position in the Premier League.