Mamelodi Sundowns gear up for their CAF Champions League Group stages opening game on Saturday against Al-Hilal Omdurman. Masandawana’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena previewed the team’s continental competition opening encounter during the CAF Champions League presser and said:
“[The] Champions League is important for Mamelodi Sundowns football club especially with the objectives set. This season we plan to try our best to win every match and competition. Al-Hilal is doing very well in the league and we’ve managed to get a little bit of their videos against Simba SC and Azam FC. We know we have to play against a good side with impressive physical profiles that their players have, including their speed on counterattacks when they sit on a low block”.
Coach Rulani continued to share his observations on the opposition and added that Al-Hilal is an interesting team, considering that they are a little bit different from last season because of the nine signings they’ve made and the change in the technical leadership with Coach Florent Ibenge who is an experienced Coach that has good organizational forms. Coach Rulani further made an example of a Congolese player, Makabo Lilepo who adds quality and a difference in dynamics to the opposition.
Bafana Ba style have experienced players that have featured in continental football and with the integration of young players into the team, they will be using their experienced players to assist the other players with preparations for the CAF Champions Leagues. Coach Rulani expanded on the team’s approach for the Champions League.
“We want to win the Champions League and we know we have to work hard for that because it’s not going to be given to us on a silver platter. We look forward to the competition and it’s a good challenge for us. The harder the games, the better it is for us because we can then test ourselves and look to improve against good oppositions.”
The Brazilians Coach mentioned that the team wants to be in the competition for the long term and it is evident with the club’s recruitments and the promotions of academy players like Jerome Karelse, Cassius Mailula, and Ntando Nkosi. He added that Marcello Allende’s recruitment was also intentional because he has a different profile of the age category that the club is looking for. As the team begins with their CAF CL duties, they will be maintaining the same mindset of playing to win every match and every competition they participate in.
The Brazilians will host Al Hilal in the CAF Champions League on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The fixture will kick off at 15h00, live on SuperSport.