DOWNS READY FOR A FIGHT
Brazilians confident of beating Wydad and defending CAF title as they make plans to include USM Alger in north African trip
Mamelodi Sundowns are ready to defend their CAF Champions League title – by hook or by crook. The Brazilians are so confident of going all the way to the final that they have already made plans for the semifinals.
Downs will travel to Morocco next week for the return leg against Wydad Casablanca, but coach Pitso Mosimane revealed they would pack for two weeks in anticipation of a possible trip to Algeria for the clash against USM Alger.
Mosimane does not think Mozambican side Clube Ferroviário da Beira will knock out the Algerians in the quarterfinals, so they have already provisionally booked their flights to Algiers.
Sundowns will hope to take the first step towards their goal when they host Wydad this afternoon.
Mosimane said they had done their homework on the north Africans and knew what to expect at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
He said he expected a compact game as the visitors would try to frustrate the hosts by defending in numbers and trying to catch them on quick counter-attacks.
Mosimane has cautioned his players to be extremely disciplined and not concede unnecessary freekicks in dangerous areas.
“Make no mistake, they are dangerous on set-pieces and we must try by all means to avoid them. They know how to use their aerial power in corner kicks and free-kicks,” said Mosimane.
He urged his players to take their chances and make use of their home-ground advantage.
“We are playing at home and we must make it count and take a healthy lead to Morocco.”
But he was concerned by their home record this time around as they have not won any of their three home matches in the group stages, unlike on their way to lifting the trophy last year. Mosimane said that, sometimes, there was too much pressure playing in front of the home supporters and players tended to make wrong calls.
Despite missing a few players due to injuries, Mosimane is still spoilt for choice with the likes of Oupa Manyisa and George Lebese likely to make their debuts for Sundowns in continental football.
Liberian international Anthony Laffor is definitely out of the first leg against the Moroccans with an ankle injury.
Mosimane said he would be crossing his fingers that at least either Khama Billiat or Yannick Zakri make it this afternoon.
Defender Wayne Arendse, who has returned to action after a long lay-off due to torn ligaments in his left ankle, played his first 90 minutes on Monday against Free State Stars and said it felt good to be back on the field.
He missed about eight weeks of action and said he couldn’t wait to help the Brazilians defend their title.
Arendse said they had to get the business done at home because this would make life easier for them when they travelled to
RARING TO GO Mamelodi Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse says they must be ruthless at home HOME-GROUND ADVANTAGE Pitso Mosimane says Sundowns have to win their home matches convincingly