Mosimane shrugs off Egyptian ‘mind games’
Zamalek fans intimidating mood
THe intimidation by Zamalek’s fans of Mamelodi Sundowns for Sunday’s second leg of the Caf Champions League final has already started‚ with players even receiving death threats on social media‚ Downs coach Pitso Mosimane said.
Mosimane was speaking after Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had given Downs a rousing send-off after their final training session at their Chloorkop base on Tuesday before flying out last night for Alexandria‚ Egypt.
Downs’ coach said the Brazilians’ confidence is high of their chances of protecting their 3-0 lead gained in an excellent first leg performance on Saturday at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Mosimane said his squad have revelled in having a rare full week’s training ahead of the second leg at Borg El Arab Stadium.
“This is a good week for us. This is a brilliant week. Five days [to prepare] before the match‚” the coach enthused.
“We don’t have that – we have three days all the time. We even gave the players off on Monday to get the body back‚ because we’re not used to this.
“We trained normally. Today [Wednesday] was the last day of my tactical sessions – it’s done.
“[Analysing] Zamalek is done – yesterday and today. We’ve packaged all Zamalek’s home games – against Wydad Casablanca [in the semifinals]‚ against us‚ to see their mentality‚ characteristics and the behaviour of their play at home.
“And then we’ll have one session in Alexandria on Friday‚ just to try and sharpen our saw.
“At Lucas Moripe the 12th player [crowd] played a very big part. And in Egypt it will play a very big part.
“There have been messages sent via social media‚ to all the players – whoever has got an Instagram‚ Facebook‚ or Twitter account‚ all of them. They have received death threats.
“But you know those things are OK. It’s mind games. The match is XI against XI on the pitch.
“The players have laughed about it. I said‚ ‘ OK that’s good. Because if they don’t talk about it maybe it could affect them’.
“But they understand that there will be lasers in Egypt. I told them‚ ‘ We’ve been there with Bafana – there were lasers‚ [and] nothing happened. So let’s go and play.”
Mosimane coached Bafana Bafana to a 0-0 draw against Egypt in Cairo in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in 2011.
Sundowns will not know for sure what kind of reception they will receive at the 86 000-seater‚ modern Borg El Arab Stadium on Sunday night (kick-off: 8.30pm SA time).
The attendance has been officially limited to 20 000 due to the tense political situation in Egypt. However‚ with Zamalek in a desperate position‚ the country’s authorities might relent and allow in a bigger crowd.
Fans of Egyptian giants Zamalek and Al Ahly are among the most passionate in world football‚ capable of creating a hostile atmosphere complete with the North African trend of utilising lasers to try to distract opposition players. — TMG Digital/TMG Sport