Coach Rulani Mokwena previews key Champions League clash in Lubumbashi

Mamelodi Sundowns are gearing up to face TP Mazembe in the third match of the CAF Champions League group stages. The Brazilians have won both their games and are sitting with six points going into the clash. Masandawana head into the clash in Lubumbashi after two crucial victories against AL Hilal and CR Belouizdad whilst on other hand the Ravens have played two draws and have two points to their name.

Coach Rulani Mokwena spoke about what to expect from a tough Mazembe outfit, “Last time we played them we beat them in the Super Cup Final when we hosted them in Pretoria. They are a different team now with a new coach, different profile and almost a new squad except for a couple of senior experienced players like Rainford Kalaba. They are a very good team, one of the biggest on the continent”.

The game will be played behind closed doors, which could take away the advantage for the home side who are known for having one of the most passionate supporter bases on the continent on game days.

“It is an abnormal season globally, where the big clubs lose the effect of the twelfth man because of the Covid restrictions and other things that restrict a side like Mazembe and the hostility that is caused by the fans when they are here. It is a daunting environment. They are a very aggressive side, they want to play to score and win. You see a little bit of energy lacking because normally that support is provided by the supporters, they give that extra push”, said Coach Rulani Mokwena.

Masandawana has scored seven goals in two games in the group stages and have conceded one goal.

“Football is played in moments and also played in relation to the opposition. The individual quality in an offensive sense, the individual quality of a player is very important and fortunately for us we have very good players in relation to how we build from the back and relation how we get to the final third, players like Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino, Kermit Erasmus, Peter Shalulile are important for us. The attacks start from the defence and the reality is that it is influenced by the position of the opponent”, said Coach Rulani Mokwena.