Do Or Die For Downs

Mamelodi Sundowns’ players will be looking to give coach Pitso Mosimane a good belated birthday gift by getting their first win in the Caf Champions League on Friday night against As Togo-Port at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Fans wearing the club’s regalia will enter for free while others will pay R20 for a ticket in the match that starts at 9pm. The Brazilians haven’t had the best of starts in the tournament with just two points from their first three games. They will be looking to change that against the Togolese side, especially with the match coming just a day after coach Mosimane celebrated his 54th birthday. A win would not only make up for the 1-0 loss in Togo but also help Sundowns catch up with Horoya and Wydad Casablanca who are just three points ahead of Sundowns.

“That match in Togo was the easiest away game we have played in the Champions League,” Mosimane said. “Even PSL away games haven’t been this easy. We created about four or five chances. We were even one-on-one against the goalkeeper and we didn’t take it. I expect them to park the bus here. You know how the Champions League is like. So we’ll have to move the bus. We have to move the bus and try and shift it to score so that we find ourselves in a good position.”

Sundowns will be without Anthony Laffor and Andile Jali who are nursing hamstrings while George Lebese has flu. But Mosimane has plenty of cover to field a competitive team. Bafana BaStyle have consistently been fighting with the big boys since they won the Champions League two years ago.

“Now they know us,” Mosimane said. “They prepare well for us. This is good test for the club to show that were you a flash in the pan or can you do it again? When I look at the last tournament that we didn’t win, that was won by Wydad, we could have won it. We should have beaten Wydad before we even went to penalties. We got a big chance just before the end of the game with Hlompho Kekana. We also had a big chance with a free-kick. We fluffed the penalties. But even during the penalties we had an advantage. Denis Onyango stopped the first one and we scored our first.”

“So when I look at that, I look at international football, look at where we are and look at the other groups, I don’t think that we were a flash in the pan. We’re in it proper. Our rankings show that and we are being ranked by the number of games we win. That’s why we don’t have to play preliminaries any more. We are consistently among the top eight teams in the continent. And we know the passport to play in the Champions League, you must win the league or finish second. We have made a footprint on the continent. We are now an established Champions League team. We’ve got to stay there.”

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