FNB Varsity Cup
Jonathan Mokuena on coaching FNB UJ, what motivates him and his ultimate coaching ambition.
Having coached FNB NWU to FNB Varsity Cup glory in 2016, do you feel under pressure to achieve similar success with FNB UJ? No, not at all. This is a new team and a new challenge. Of course, winning the Varsity Cup in 2016 was special and my UJ boys can also write their names into the history books this year. It’s a massive opportunity for them and I hope they see it like that.
What's your core value as a coach? That everyone needs to be part of something and everyone needs to feel that they belong somewhere. I want to create a family environment.
What did you take from your playing days into your coaching career? Being tough and never giving anything for free. For me, the massive thing is that any team I coach must have my attitude and character when they are on the field, which means not being soft and not being involved in soft moments.
How do you view the balance between academics and rugby for FNB Varsity Cup players? That's very important. My philosophy has always been to send better men into society and if they can get their degrees and play sport, why not?
What motivates you as a coach? Change. I want to see change and opportunities. I want to see people growing. When I have a hand in assisting someone, I have done my job.
Is there an aspect of rugby that you would like to see changed? The breakdown, which remains a mess. If referees, administrators and coaches can clean up the breakdown, then we will have a better product.
What’s your ultimate coaching ambition? I want to reach the highest level and for me, that is coaching the Springboks. I have given myself 10 years to achieve that goal. Whether I make it or not, at least it gives me something I can work towards and I wake up in the morning with a purpose.
Interview by Gontse Mabale
Photo: Luigi Bennett/ASEM Engage