With a hectic schedule between now and the end of the year that still sees Mamelodi Sundowns due to play five games before the end of December, Rulani Mokwena admits that the sheer volume of games is starting to take its toll on his side.

Mokwena’s side played to a dull 0-0 draw against Egyptian side Pyramids in a CAF Champions’ League group match on Sunday, just days after a dour 1-0 win over AmaZulu and a loss to TP Mazembe.

Addressing the media after the game Mokwena spoke about the apparent loss of form and intensity from his team. “It’s very difficult to have a clearer understanding of what it needs to get a little bit more refreshed because you leave your wife and kids at home and are saying you are leaving again.

“Of course, it’s very difficult for the players.

“That’s why I said to you guys that I want to thank them for responding to the talk at half-time. I could not recognise the team and it was my responsibility to look at myself first in the mirror to say, ‘Did I prepare the team properly?

“Let’s recover, bring the team back and let’s see what happens. We have a very difficult two and half weeks left. They have to go to the Africa Cup of Nations, and they have a camp, so let’s see what happens,” he said.

Asked if there was maybe a hangover effect left over from winning the African Football League, Mokwena denied that it was a problem. “I don’t think we are suffering from that; I don’t think so. I think we got a couple of situations. I don’t want to talk too much about those because the headlines will say Rulani complains or makes excuses,” he said.

“We have so many things to talk about that influence what’s going on at the moment. But we have to soldier on. Hangover is not one of the reasons for our performances at the moment.

“We have a very important game on Wednesday and then we have to try to prepare for the away match against the same team and it’s going to be very difficult again.

“Let’s try to recover and rest a little bit and try to prepare ourselves. It’s still a long month and there are still a lot of games to go.”

Sundowns are in action again in midweek when they face battling Cape Town Spurs at Loftus Versfeld.