Downs keep faith for CAF semi­fi­nals

Mosi­mane has al­ready in­structed the team to get visas for Algeria

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT - MMASEKEPE MATSEBANE mmasekepem@the­newage.co.za

AS MAMELODI Sun­downs play­ers gear up to face Morocco side Wy­dad Casablanca, they would have learnt the dif­fer­ences be­tween hope and faith from their coach Pitso Mosi­mane.

Hope that they will win the CAF Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter­fi­nal first leg clash on Sun­day at the Lu­cas Moripe sta­dium on Sun­day – as well as the re­turn leg in Morocco next week.

And faith that they will make the com­pe­ti­tion’s semi­fi­nals, as coach Mosi­mane has al­ready in­structed the team to get visas to Algeria, where they will camp for two weeks af­ter the Wy­dad away leg. This means Mosi­mane be­lieves they will make the the semi­fi­nals of the com­pe­ti­tion they are try­ing to de­fend, likely against Al­ge­rian side Uesma.

That alone is a mas­sive mes­sage to Sun­downs play­ers such as Percy Tau, Themba Zwane, Hlom­pho Kekana, Khama Bil­liat and Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi that los­ing in the last eight of Africa’s most premier club com­pe­ti­tion is not an op­tion.

Mosi­mane ex­plained his de­ci­sion to get Algeria visas af­ter the Wy­dad away leg clash as mak­ing sure that the team does not do un­nec­es­sary travel, but ad­mit­ted that it would be money wasted in terms of flight book­ings, ac­com­mo­da­tion and visas if his side fails to make it to the last four.

The only dent to this year’s cham­pi­onship charge is that Sun­downs have never won a home match dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion’s group stages and Zwane wants it fixed as soon as Sun­day.

“We are con­fi­dent that we will make it be­cause we have been watch­ing Wy­dad. We are al­ready aware of their strengths and weak­nesses.

“For us, it works that we are play­ing at home first, but that will only show if we can get re­sults here first. It will make things eas­ier when we go there. They will be forced to open. We will have to get three goals and stop them from scor­ing,” the Sun­downs’ main cre­ative spark said.

It will be in this match that Mosi­mane will hope that Tau will be in the mood just as he was when he scored a brace against Free State Stars in the league on Mon­day.

Wy­dad will look to their tal­is­manic striker Achraf Ben­charki to lead their line. The match at the Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium will start at 3pm.

*Sun­downs fans wear­ing yel­low or the team’s colours will gain free en­try into the sta­dium, while adults in plain clothes will only pay R20, with chil­dren pay­ing R10.

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