Wayne Arendse is confident that with the experience Mamelodi Sundowns have of competing in different competitions with the aim of winning all of them, along with the squad at their disposal – the Brazilians will easily juggle their heavy workload.
The Brazilians face ABC Motsepe League club EC Bees in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup on Tuesday at Loftus Versfeld. The 2016 African champions will then host Rayon Sports from Rwanda in the second leg of the first round of the Caf Champions League on Sunday. And then there’s the Absa Premiership after these two matches where Sundowns sit at the summit with seven matches to go.
“We’ve been in this space before, having to play in the league, Champions League and also be involved in a cup competition,” Arendse said. “It’s nothing new to us. The coach has been chopping and changing the team to ensure that the players are fresh. We have the depth in the squad. It’s up to us to kill the game against EC Bees as soon as possible so that the coach can start focusing on the match on the weekend. I don’t think that will hinder us in a way.”
EC Bees will be a tricky team in a competition that’s famous for producing upsets. That’s why Sundowns aren’t taking anything for granted with thorough preparations to ensure they book a place in the quarterfinals.
“We are not taking this game lightly,” Arendse said. “We have footage of them from their last game. We have seen their strengths and weaknesses. They are a very good team on the ball. We need to respect that. We are going to go out there, play our game of football and try to score early. When you play against these teams from the lower leagues, they always come out looking to express themselves and show the world what they are all about. That’s what we are going to get against EC Bees. They will come out all guns blazing and will run all over the place. We have to be calm, show our experience and show why we are a PSL team.”
Sundowns will have to do the job without coach Pitso Mosimane who is in Morocco for the Pro Licence Course, the highest coaching qualification in the sport. Mosimane returns from Rabat on Thursday. The club’s assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi will lead the side in the Nedbank Cup like he did against Cape Town All Stars in the last 32.
“All congrats to the coach for being invited for this course to get a Pro License and take his career to the next level,” Arendse said. “We are professional enough to do the job without him on the bench. We know what we need to do. Coach Manqoba has been there. He’s been on the bench without the coach before and he did the job. Everyone knows what to do.”