Downs Prepared For Champions League Test In Congo

Mamelodi Sundowns CAF Champions League kicks off this afternoon where they open their campaign against Congolese outfit AS Maniema Union.

The first of two legs of fixtures between the two sides will take place at the Stade des Martyr before the return leg at Loftus a week later. Speaking at the press conference ahead of the battle, Masandawana co-coach Rulani Mokwena expressed the teams eagerness and determination to come away victorious in Congo in their opening continental game.

“We are as ready as we can be, we shouldn’t be here if we are not ready. We believe that we’ve got the best possibilities with the preparations that we’ve had and we are here to win the football match. We always believe in preparation because for us preparation eliminates fear, that’s what we want to try and come here to do, [we want to] try to dominate the game and try to play the best game that we possibly can.”

Bafana Ba Style are up against a side that has already had a taste of the Cup action, overcoming Bouenguidi in the opening round, thanks to a 3-1 aggregate score that paved a way for them into this encounter with Downs.

“We’ve done alot of work behind the scene [to learn about them], to analyze, we’ve checked not only their last two games where they qualified by winning 3-1, but we’ve also watched their last two games – the one against Renaissance and AS Vita in the domestic league.” Said coach Rulani.

The Brazilians coach continued and gave insight on his opponents for the day: “We know the strengths and weaknesses of our oppositions, we know the reliance of a player like [Taboria] Simete from the back, the balls that are delivered to the strikers on top. They can play with a 8 or a 9, they present different problems but the most consistent is [Likwela] Yelemaya, the captain of the team.”

Maniema Union have never played a fixture against Mamelodi Sundowns and will need to adapt to a dominant side that is yet to lose a battle in their domestic league campaign. 

“We try to win every match, we try to win every single training session and win every single day and the players know this. We understand that the winning of the trophy is just the culmination of winning every single day and that is our objective for this season, to win every day” Said coach Rulani.

Downs assembled their strongest troops to Kinshasa to take on the Congolese giants in what could be their chance to reclaim African dominance. Captain Mosa Lebusa, is amongst the players who marked a return to the star-studded squad after succumbing to an injury that sidelined him ahead of the international break.

“We’ve got one job at hand to do which is to make sure that we get the advantage and go home. We are ready and we are looking forward to the game, it’s a bit disappointing that the fans are still not allowed but hopefully they will be allowed soon.” Said Lebusa.

Lebusa also made mention of the extreme weather conditions away from home, saying, “We’ve been in this kind of situation before. The heat is not really a factor, if it’s anything to go by, the heat will affect everyone that’s on the pitch.”

The Brazilians coach added to Lebusa’s standpoint and said: “We had an advanced team that arrived a couple of days prior to us arriving here, they had to try and help us prepare in relation to the conditions, the hotel, the distances from the airport and the pitch, the food, the climate and that’s all a part of the preparations. We are a serious team, that’s why we do things that go beyond just the pitch. We understand fully that these small important factors also contribute to performance, so it was important for us to do that.”

Mamelodi Sundowns take on AS Maniema Union in the CAF Champions League Second Preliminary Round first leg at Stade des Martyr, Sunday 17 October, kick off is 16h00. The game will be broadcast LIVE on the Mamelodi Sundowns Facebook and YouTube pages from 15h45.

2 Responses
  1. muzi kunene

    Our Govt told us about piloting the return of fans and allow us to be two thousand whereas on their rallies at stadiums they are more than that,its very strange and painful the way they are treating us soccer fans.


    The central defensive of Lebusa and Mandela will never work,they are both not calm or comfortable on the ball.The don’t know when to charge for the ball or stay.Lebusa plays well only when De Reuck is covering him,without Grant and De Reuck we are going concede every game we play.Offensively we are very strong.

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