I’m still learning a lot playing continental football – Neo Maema

Mamelodi Sundowns made their way to Angola on Wednesday to begin the preparations for their CAF Champions League quarter-final first leg against Petro de Luanda on Saturday.

The Brazilians departed for Southern Africa on Wednesday morning just a few hours after their emphatic victory in the DStv Premiership to prepare for their continental cup quest. Bafana Ba Style’s left back, Neo Maema has been a revelation for the team in his first season at the club, having played a majority of the league matches, Maema forms an essential part of the squad that has has been sensational in this year’s campaign.

“The most important part of football is rest. We are very happy that we are scoring goals, it only means that we are getting in good positions offensively and we’ve always known that we are capable of scoring a lot of goals, we just had to execute and I’m happy that [we’ve been doing that] in our past games. This game won’t be any different, we will work hard as a team with the support of our coaches and everyone involved at the club.”  Maema shared his experience playing as a Brazilian.

As a first time CAF Champions League participant, the 26-year-old revealed the highlights of his experience in the top flight football competition. Maema said, “It is still an unbelievable experience with all the traveling; seeing other countries, adjusting to the different weather conditions and competing against the best. [I am] grateful and I feel I’m still learning a lot playing continental football and it can only get better from here individually and as a team.”

Masandawana’s brilliant display in this year’s pursuit of the African trophy placed them at the top of Group A with 16 points – 6 more than second placed Al – Ahly of Egypt, with 10 goals scored in total, 5 have been achieved in their away encounters. Maema regarded the significance of collecting points and goals when competing in a foreign environment.

“[I’ve learnt] that when you win your away games and play with confidence , you stand a better chance of going into the next round. The responsibility has not changed from everyone [that forms] part of Mamelodi Sundowns and we will do our best to get the results against Petro De Luanda.”

The return leg at the FNB Stadium will take place on Saturday, 23 April at 18:00.

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