Downs to ap­proach Vita cau­tiously

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

It does not mat­ter who the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons of the CAF Cham­pi­ons League, Mamelodi Sun­downs, will meet in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the tour­na­ment, says Pitso Mosi­mane.

The coach said his main fo­cus go­ing into this evening’s game was to man­age his play­ers, par­tic­u­larly those on yel­low cards.

Be­sides, Downs are not in a po­si­tion to dic­tate who they play in the knock­out stages as they are not guar­an­teed a top spot in their group.

Finishing on top in Group C de­pends on whether lead­ers Espérance lose or draw at home to Saint Ge­orge of Ethiopia this evening.

By the time Sun­downs take on AS Vita of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, also this evening, they will know who their op­po­nents from Group D, who com­pleted their fix­tures last night, will be.

The win­ners in Group C will play the run­ners-up in Group D, with the sec­ond-placed team play­ing the win­ners of Group D.

GROUP C LOG

1 2 3 4

Al­though he wants to field his strong­est pos­si­ble team, Mosi­mane says he has to be care­ful with play­ers who al­ready have cau­tions.

In fact, he said, he just wants to get this game out of the way so his play­ers can take a three-week break to recharge their bat­ter­ies.

But Mosi­mane said they would give a good ac­count of them­selves in their fi­nal group game and not let their sup­port­ers down. They have called on them to fill the Lucas Moripe Sta­dium, where en­trance will be free.

One player who is look­ing for­ward to the game is An­thony Laf­for, who has proved him­self the man for big oc­ca­sions. Espérance Mamelodi Sun­downs Saint Ge­orge SC AS Vita 9 8 5 4

The Liberian in­ter­na­tional scored the only goal when Sun­downs beat Saint Ge­orge SC last week.

Laf­for said the fact that they have not won at home in their past two games would mo­ti­vate them to do so for their sup­port­ers.

“We want to fin­ish on a high and thank the sup­port­ers with a big win,” said Laf­for.

“We want to fin­ish on top of the group and any­thing is pos­si­ble for us. The fact that we have qual­i­fied does not mean we shouldn’t take our game se­ri­ously.”

Sun­downs beat Vita 3-1 away in Kinshasa in May, but Laf­for said they would not un­der­mine the Con­golese.

Mosi­mane might give the now fully fit Wayne Arendse some game time.

But Sun­downs could be with­out Tiyani Mabunda, who is still out with an in­jury. Mosi­mane will as­sess Sibusiso Vi­lakazi and Themba Zwane be­fore the game.

“We have to re­spect our sup­port­ers and give them some­thing. They have been be­hind us all the way and it is time to re­pay them.”

Kick­off is at 7pm.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

CON­FI­DENT An­thony Laf­for is ea­ger to re­pay Sun­downs sup­port­ers’ con­fi­dence in the team

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