Downs scramble for ex­tra CAF game

Brazil­ians forced to pre­pare for Vege­tar­i­anos from Equa­to­rial Guinea

Sunday World - - Sport - By Go­molemo Motshwane / Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Im­ages

Mamelodi Sun­downs have a right to feel ag­grieved about hav­ing to play the pre­lim­i­nary round in the CAF Cham­pi­ons League at such short no­tice.

Sun­downs were un­ex­pect­edly drawn to play in the first round of the pre-group stages in the Premier African club com­pe­ti­tion.

Due to their high rank­ing in African football, the Brazil­ians in the past played only the sec­ond round of the pre­lim­i­nar­ies – one step be­fore the group stages. This time only Wy­dad Casablanca, TP Mazembe, Al Ahly and AS Vita Club were seeded.

The 2016 com­pe­ti­tion win­ners were last week drawn to take on Leones Vege­tar­i­anos from Equa­to­rial Guinea, with the first-leg away on Tues­day and the sec­ond in SA on De­cem­ber 4.

Sun­downs will need star player Gas­ton Sirino to step up for the team at this stage of the tour­na­ment. Coach Pitso Mosi­mane has sin­gled out the Uruguayan as his pick for PSL Foot­baller of the Sea­son at the end of the cam­paign.

Some of the Brazil­ians’ con­tin­gent of in­ter­na­tional play­ers are not in con­tention for the match.

Goal­keeper De­nis Onyango is likely to be ruled out as he had swelling on his ab­duc­tor mus­cles af­ter do­ing duty with the Uganda na­tional team, while Themba Zwane had a sim­i­lar prob­lem.

The un­fore­seen ex­tra match on their sched­ule forced the man­age­ment and tech­ni­cal team into a scramble to pre­pare for the cen­tral African op­po­nents.

The tech­ni­cal depart­ment had to get video footage of the Guinean’s last three games to an­a­lyse the op­po­nents while the man­age­ment has had to or­gan­ise travel ar­range­ments in a short pe­riod of time.

Sun­downs’ act­ing gen­eral man­ager, Yo­gesh Singh, ad­mit­ted that they were caught off guard by the CAF draw.

“It seems we only missed out of be­ing seeded by one spot but it is what it is, and we have to deal with it and play the round,” Singh said.

Due to the match clash­ing with Sun­downs’ do­mes­tic league fix­tures, the PSL had to post­pone matches against Black Leop­ards set for Wed­nes­day, and Mar­itzburg United on De­cem­ber 4.

Leones Ve­gatar­i­anos (Equa­to­rial Guinea) v Sun­downs

Pi­rates v Light Stars (Sey­chelles)

Free State Stars v Mukura Vic­tory Sports (Rwanda); Kaizer Chiefs v Zi­namoto (Zanz­ibar).

Sun­downs play­maker Gas­ton Sirino is needed against Leones Vege­tar­i­anos.

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