Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has expressed his frustration after a number of his Bafana Bafana players returned from AFCON duty with injuries.

It is not the first time Mokwena has accused Hugo Broos of not looking after the wellbeing of his players. The Masandawana mentor is particularly disappointed with the case of defender Khuliso Mudau, who Broos deployed despite the 28-year-old carrying an ankle injury.

Mudau’s injury has been aggravated and he will now be out for six to eight weeks. Mothobi Mvala is also out for the same amount of time, while Ronwen Williams and Themba Zwane are also carrying knocks to add to the absentee list for the clash with Mauritanian outfit Nouadhibou in what is the penultimate CAF Champions League Group A tie on Saturday.

“Some of it is not even by choice. I mean Mothobi [Mvala] is out and will probably be out for six to eight weeks. Sailor [Mudau] is out and he’ll be out for about six to eight weeks also with high-end Grade 3. We all saw when he got injured, he still played which disappoints me a little bit,” Mokwena said after their 6-1 thumping of second-tier side La Masia in the first round of the Nedbank Cup at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday.

“Ronza [Ronwen Williams] is struggling with a shoulder injury, so today we tried to rest him and give him some time. Mshishi [Themba Zwane] also got a niggle, so some of the players that came back from Bafana it’s not even about whether we want to give them a break or not. We just can’t use them at all because some returned back with serious injuries.

Despite the lack of first-team options, Mokwena is confident in the depth of the squad. That depth shone through as the fringe players did their credentials no harm with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

“It is what it is and we have to try to use the rest of the squad. You saw today and you saw against Pirates that they’ve got the quality to compete and help the team,” Mokwena said.

Mokwena and Broos have had their fair share of run-ins in the past. It started when Mokoena publicly complained about two of his players returning from the national camp injured. Broos responded by accusing Mokoena of ‘pretending to be God’ for his outspoken nature.

“The coach of Sundowns, he is the local [Jose] Mourinho. He has won a lot of trophies, he pretends to be God and everyone listens to what he says. He criticised me because two of his players came back from the national team injured,” Broos said then.

However, speaking to the press during the Nedbank Cup press conference on Monday ahead of Sundowns’ Round of 32 clash against La Masia at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday at 7pm, Mokwena said Broos has since apologised.

The Brazilians boss said he would rather sort things out on the phone and called TS Galaxy coach Sead Ramovic to discuss matters after the German tactician criticised Mokwena. The nature of Ramovic’s complaint was that Mokwena ‘made excuses’ when his team lost.

“I think my biggest problem is that I don’t discuss quite a lot of these things that are said by my colleagues in the media. I don’t go and have engagements with the media about them,” Mokwena said.

“You are all familiar with some of the things that my colleague at TS Galaxy [Sead Ramovic] said. I picked up the phone and called him directly and I raised my displeasure. There were things said by Broos and I picked up the phone and I called him directly and I raised my displeasure. 

“What was said in those conversations is not for the public. If they feel they have to disclose that, it is what they feel like, I’m not that type of a person.

“And I will not be dragged into those kinds of situations. I address issues straight. I don’t go to the media, I pick up a phone and address those things and fortunately, coach Hugo Broos did apologise and explain what had happened. After that conversation we had on the phone before Afcon, for me, it was done.”