Break helped Downs’ walking wounded
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.