Mamelodi Sundowns are back in Champions League action and are set to host both legs of the second preliminary African Champions League tie against La Passe of the Seychelles at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. Masandawana are geared up to start their journey of reclaiming glory and success after dismissing Zamalek back in the 2016 final of the continent’s noble competition, Downs co-coach Rulani Mokwena showed firmness in his team’s preparation for the visitors.
“We’ve already started trying to get as much information about the opposition as we possibly can, fortunately they played Volcan club in the previous round and we were able to get footage of that match. They have quite a few interesting football players and a few interesting schemes from a tactical perspective. Already you can see a very direct team that has a lot of physicality because of the profile, they have some players that already play for the Seychelles National team, two Madagascans and very good players that represent the national teams.”
The brazilians Coach extensively outlined the key players from the opposition team, he said: “They’ve got two very good young players that were sent to train in Germany two years ago. They have the Aboudou [Affandi Aboudou and Assad Aboudou] twins, they are very good players also and show very good potential, and at the age of 18 years or 19 years old they also got invites to go and train in Germany. We are talking about a team that has some interesting players, like I’ve said some players we don’t know much about and we’ve had to dig deep .”
“Their striker [Brandon] Fanchette is very explosive, very mobile and very quick to play with the space behind and presses very, very well. We’ve done our homework and again we will be playing with a team that plays with three center backs, wingbacks and we’ve got a responsibility to try to move the reinforced block. We will prepare and try as much as possible to give the players all the information about the plans and what to expect and hopefully we can be ready and get a very good result on Sunday leading upto the second leg on Friday.”
Besides having clinched the trophy once, the Tshwane giants have also cruised into the semifinal stage back in the 2018-19 season before being knocked out of the competition by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco. Due to the unfavorable playing conditions and not having a suitable venue in Seychelles, Bafana Ba Style will provide playing grounds for both the home and away encounters of this clash.
“It’s always tricky to play the same team twice and you see it even [playing] in the league. It’s never easy, the only advantage is probably that there’s less traveling for us and from that perspective then you’ve got a huge mental and physical advantage.
There’s no accumulation of travel fatigue or psychological fatigue from traveling and being in a foreign country, but apart from that [we] still have to play the 90 minutes with the same attitude, and have a good mentality against a team that is well organized.” Said Coach Rulani.
Mamelodi Sundowns meet with La Passe FC in the CAF Champions League second preliminary round leg 1 of 2 on Sunday at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Kick off is at 16H00, live on SuperSport.