Mamelodi Sundowns will tomorrow complete a full month since returning back for pre-season and coach Pitso Mosimane’s men are slowly regaining their match fitness having been tested in several friendly matches so far.
The Brazilians first began at Chloorkop as the group got back together having last played Free State Stars on May 11 at Goble Park in Bethlehem, a game which they won narrowly by 1-0 but was enough to make sure they retain their Absa Premiership title – with Phakamani Mahlambi coming off the bench to score the only goal of the game.
As Mosimane continued to put them through their paces, Sundowns travelled to sunny Nelspruit and ended that trip off with a 1-1 draw against National First Division outfit TS Sporting.
The Brazilians then returned to Gauteng, but geared up for another trip, this time outside the boarders of SA where they had lined up friendly matches with Botswana sides with Jwaneng Galaxy and Morupuleng Wanderers.
It’s there that Mahlambi was in his element again as he put his name on the scoresheet with Masandawana running riot to prepare for their opening league match against Tshwane rivals SuperSport United on August 3 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
‘Phaka’ as Mahlambi is affectionately known, scored Downs’ only goal in the 1-1 stalemate played against Jwaneng on Saturday. And then Sundowns faced Wanderers a day later and managed an avalanche of goals as they romped to a 5-1 victory that would have pleased coach Mosimane.
Mahlambi bagged a brace while striker Ali Meza, Thapelo Morena and Lyle Lakay each got on the scoresheet once to make it an emphatic tally for the Brazilians. Mahlambi joined Sundowns last season from Egyptian giants Al Ahly and appears to be making the most of his first ever pre-season with Downs ahead of the new 2019/20 season as well as a return to the CAF Champions League.
The club will continue with their pre-season training in Zambia following a change of plans from the initial scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo to face CS Don Bosco and TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi.