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Rhulani: We poured our heart and soul

Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena  
Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena could not fault his players for a lack of effort after their CAF Champions League campaign came to an end on Saturday.

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After losing the first leg 1-0 in Zambia, Pirates drew 1-1 with Green Eagles at Orlando Stadium on Saturday meaning they were knocked out of the continental showpiece.

Buccanneers captain Happy Jele gave the hosts the lead, but they were almost immediately pegged back by an Amit Shamenda equaliser and try as they might could not score the two goals needed to progress.

And Mokwena says he could not have asked for more from his players in terms of effort, while bemoaning their bad luck.

“If you play the way we played, not just from the tactical perspective but also emotionally, to get the players to go to another gear and the players responded,” Mokwena told SuperSport TV after the embarrassing elimination.

“In the second half they put a lot of effort, they really poured their heart and soul. We were unfortunate, I think also we lost it away when we lost 1-0,” he continued.

“But that’s how the cookie crumbles. It’s Murphy’s law at the at the moment. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong you know.”

The Sea Robbers' mentor feels although his side 'poured their heart and soul' in to the encounter, their decision-making and game management let them down in the crucial moments.

“We spoke about the managing of critical phases," said the 32-year-old.

"Unfortunately we scored and you don’t manage the critical phase. Immediately after you score, you don’t manage the game.

“But like I said, it’s Murphy’s law, even the goal comes out of absolutely nothing, the equaliser and it’s where we are at the moment and we just have to soldier on. That’s it.

We tried what we could do from a technical perspective from the bench, trying to affect the game, we changed the shape a little bit and once we changed the shape in the second half, we were a little bit aggressive; had more numbers in the final third and created chances.

“Sometimes the decision-making was not right, but I can’t ask for more. They fought and gave their best. When you’re defeated by trying and giving your best, you take it as a learning curve and try to improve.

The Buccaneers, we suffer with them, we bleed the same blood. We’re not happy with the result as well, but every team has to go through what we’re going through. It’s like training any sort of muscle, once you go through it, you’re stronger and able to withstand whatever difficulties that mate come your way. We have to take it. We have to be strong and stick together,” he said.

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