Coach Rulani: We are Here to Play Winning Football

Mamelodi Sundowns will aim to turbocharge the pursuit of a place in the CAF Champions League semi-finals when they resume their campaign against Tanzanian side, Young Africans FC, on Saturday evening at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium. In their return to action after a short international break, the Pretoria-based side will be looking to kick off the CAFCL quarterfinals campaign on a good note.

Looking ahead of the encounter away from home, coach Rulani praised Yanga’s performance and stated that the encounter will be a demanding one between two good sides.

“We are looking forward to the match. We know we have to play against Tanzania’s most successful team in the history of Tanzanian football. We also know that they are playing their first quarterfinal in CAF Champions League since 1970 and a third quarterfinal in the club’s history. We know what it means to the Tanzanian people and the crowd, so we are ready for a difficult match,” he stated.

When asked on whether his side will bring their experience of winning the African Football League in this encounter, the Masandawana coach stated his side is not banking on past performances and accolades to win the first leg of the CAFCL quarterfinals. Furthermore, he stated that his charges will approach the encounter with modesty and not underestimate their counterparts.

“In football, you are only as good as your last performance and if we rest too much on our laurels and we expect experience to play, we’ll be in big trouble. We will have to go into the game and rely on our abilities and play football, understanding how difficult it’s going to be. We will also need to trust in our abilities. We know we are a good side with a lot of very good players. We work very hard in preparation, which is probably the most important aspect,” said coach Rulani.

“We have to approach every game with a lot of humility. That humility is what drives us to give a lot of respect to the opposition. Of course, we know Young Africans are a very good side and did incredibly well in the CAF Confederations Cup last season. They are a team that is now trying to win its third league title in a row. That already gives you the importance of going to the game with a lot of humility. We are not here to make up the numbers and participate in a festival, we are here to play winning football. That’s the mentality we carry in all our games and that’s the approach. We want to also write our own history and that we will have to do on the pitch. We understand the mandate and responsibility that we carry,” he continued.

Mamelodi Sundowns will return to continental action when they face Young Africans FC on Saturday evening at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Tanzania. Kick off is scheduled for 20H00 SAST.