Mamelodi Sundowns are aiming for another positive result in their CAF Champions League race

Masandawana have started their CAF Champions League journey on the front foot in their group A encounters by securing four points in their two games played against the Sudanese countrymen. Coach Rulani Mokwena shared his thoughts on the upcoming clash against Egyptian rivals that awaits.

“From a tactical perspective there’s a lot of new things that we have introduced, there’s a lot of variations in relations to what we try to do when we have possession and when we don’t have possession. The squad profile has also changed quite a bit, [for example] if you look at the starting lineup from last year to what we have this year when we played here last year, the squad is completely different.”

“But you can say the same about Coach Pitso because he now has more experiences, different match experiences change the profile of the coach, and coaching different players also. The Pitso that we knew is not the Pitso that we face, and it’s therefore got very minimal impact on the match.”

The Egyptian Red Devils secured the bronze medal at the FIFA Club World Cup after thrashing Al Hilal 4-0 on Saturday afternoon. Pitso Mosimane’s charges have lost no games in the new season, and recently won their encounter against Misr Lel Makkasa by 4 – 0, Luis miquissone scored a brace and Hussein El shahat and Zeyad Terak scored one each.

“We watched their last 10 games maybe, Al-Ahly plays a lot of games in a short space of time, so going back all the way into the Super Cup maybe and including our matches against them last season. We are very clear that we are playing a very, very good team, one of the best on the African continent, but they are also playing one of the best on the African continent.” Said Coach Rulani.

The Brazilians coach continued to give an in-depth analysis of his opponent’s style of play:

“It’s a team that does not change much tactically, from game to game there’s not a lot of structural changes, before the last three or four games, they played a back three, and now recently the last three to four games it’s been a back four. The only biggest change is the center half, the number 24 Abdul [Mano], but you know that they’ve still got Yasser [Ibrahim] and [Ramy] Rabia who is the most experienced one. They don’t have too many options at right back with [Akram] Tawfik out, it leaves [Mohamed] Hany as the most experienced right back. If they look to play with a back three then it’s [Ayman] Ashraf as the third center back and then [Ali] Maaloul as the wing back.

“We expect and prepare for a back four or a back three. The midfield is strong, [Aliou] Dieng is strong and aggressive, runs with the ball and he’s very progressive in breaking lines. [Amar] Hamdi is also very important defensively to screen the defensive line, but also clear that a lot of things go through Maaloul. Upfront they’ve got a serious threat in [Percy] Tau, [Ahmed] Abdelkader, but they’ve got a lot of options behind the striker, Ashraf, very good players that are able to manipulate the space. [Taher] Mohammed, who also has an eye for goal, [he is] quick, so they’ve got a lot of options and we know what we have to expect.”

Bafana Ba Style’s record away at the Red Devils home ground leaves room for improvement, within the five encounters played, Masandawana lost five and have struggled to find the back of the net. Coach Rulani is enthusiastic that the Tshwane Giants will be singing a different tune this Saturday when the two teams clash in Cairo as Sundowns have come away with at least a couple of wins down the years.

“It’s been very difficult for us to score against Ahly in Cairo, but we hope this time around, since it’s the new year, we might have luck on our side. We’ve scored at home in Pretoria, but of course as the coach said it’s gonna be a tough game, it will be won on margins and we believe that those margins will be on our side.” Said The Brazilians Captain, Denis Onyango.

Coach Rulani shared the same feeling of reliance and eagerness to win the weekend’s encounter:

“We are well prepared, we have to focus on what we are here for, we believe that we’ve done the right preparations from the beginning of the season up until now to try to give ourselves the best form of chance to win the game.”

The Egyptian club has requested permission to have supporters at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday and thousands of Ahly fans are expected to watch the heavyweight clash. Masandawana’s skipper expressed the desire to have fans at the stadium also back home.

“Football is beautiful with supporters, for us to see supporters back in stadiums is the best thing that can happen in football and we would also love to have supporters in Pretoria when we play Ahly.”

Mamelodi Sundowns lock horns with Al Ahly this evening in the CAF Champions League at the Cairo International Stadium. Kick off is at 21H00, live on SuperSport 208.

2 Responses
  1. Downs4ever

    Be fearless and allow players to freely express themselves,the rest will fall into places.Most teams are no longer strong and our problem is only the decision making by the technical team.Favouritism and cowards on the bench is what retarding the progress of our team.Good team selection and substitutions will see us through tonight.They might surprise us a make 1st substitution on the 83 rd minute.

  2. Skhumba

    We have beaten Ahly in the their backyard, after trying and failing 5 times! Congratulations to the boys and the technical team! The injury to Denis Onyango saved the day for us! Kennedy was the man of the match in that game!

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