Break helped Downs’ walk­ing wounded

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - LOCAL NEWS - Michael­son Gumede

The in­ter­na­tional break was a bless­ing in dis­guise for Pitso Mosi­mane’s Mamelodi Sun­downs as his side­lined play­ers were af­forded some time to nurse their nig­gling in­juries.

Those play­ers who are fit, but did not take part in the Fifa World Cup qual­i­fiers, mean­while, had time off in prepa­ra­tion for their next big as­sign­ment in the form of Tues­day night’s Absa Premier­ship show­down at home to Kaizer Chiefs.

Mosi­mane has wel­comed back the likes of Ge­orge Lebese (right), Oupa Many­isa, Tiyani Mabunda and Leonardo Cas­tro.

The African Coach-of-the-Year should be con­cerned about his side’s per­for­mances at home so far this sea­son – they have not won a do­mes­tic home game af­ter los­ing 2-1 to Polok­wane City in the league and 1-0 to Mar­itzburg United in the MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nals.

The poor home form could be at­trib­uted to the fact that Downs were still com­pet­ing in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League, which meant Mosi­mane’s hand was some­what forced in field­ing a weak­ened side. Now with the idea of suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing the African crown out of the picture, he can re­di­rect the fo­cus to­wards the league.

Downs have only played four league games but are, per­haps sur­pris­ingly, ahead of Steve Kom­phela’s Amakhosi, who have played three games more, on goal dif­fer­ence.

Mamelodi-born winger Lebese could see him­self go­ing up against his for­mer em­ploy­ers for the first time.

Sun­downs, mean­while, will an­nounce Hyundai as their new ve­hi­cle spon­sor this af­ter­noon at the South Korean car man­u­fac­turer’s head of­fice in Jo­han­nes­burg.

Downs will part ways with Honda af­ter the Ja­panese brand drove the Brazil­ians from Fe­bru­ary 2012, the same year Mosi­mane was ap­pointed head coach af­ter Dutch coach Jo­han Neeskens was sacked.

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