Mamelodi Sundowns resumed their preparations for the upcoming season with an international trip to the Netherlands with some high profile fixtures already scheduled. The South African champions team will play against top-flight teams in Europe, beginning with Belgian Pro League Champions. After weeks of hard work and dedication, the team had reached the third and final phase of their preparations.
Downs goalkeeper Coach Wendel Robinson, provided an insightful update on the team’s progress during their time abroad. “We left Johannesburg Monday roundabout 11 we landed in Amsterdam it was 10 a.m. the following day then we went through the passport control so we hopped onto a bus roundabout 11:30 so it was about a 90 minutes trip by bus out here to the hotel.”
“The hotel is very good, the facilities are very good, the training pitches are high level and basically the surroundings are in a forest setting, nice tranquil surroundings and the team has everything it needs right here. We needed a facility that one can cater for for accommodation first and foremost must be up to scratch then we looked at the training pitches, they must be within a walking distance which we have here and then obviously it’s the meals, it’s the recovery protocols, swimming pools, sauna and facilities where the players can have ice baths. Also from the analysts point of view, they have a viewpoint that they can record all the training sessions and any matches that we may play here.”
The Brazilians have taken a bold step forward to face new challenges and test themselves against top-flight European teams. Coach Wendel looked to hit the ground running in their friendly games as they prepare for the 2023/24 season and expressed how the team found themselves in the company of renowned football clubs and the impact this will have ahead of the competitions that await for them in the domestic league and on the continent.
“The first match we will play against Ghent Belgium premier League team, second match will be Go ahead Eagles, third match will be Sparta Rotterdam and then we’ll finish off next Friday [when] we play against NAC Breda, who play in the first division here in the Netherlands. This camp is to take the opposition upper-level, because you know we are preparing for a very, very big season with a number of competitions.
“This camp we’re basically looking for stronger competition [because] this season the club will be involved in a number of competitions besides the DStv premiership and CAF Champions League. There is the Nedbank Cup, the MTN8, we also have the Carling Black label Cup thrown in and and as well as the African football league as well, so it’s going to be a really really tough and difficult season so this camp was important for us to to really come out and test ourselves. I think with this camp we are really trying to play against very, very strong opposition and see how we fare.”
“The camp is going well, obviously it’s the second camp. The first one was at Royal Marang [and with] that camp the focus was more on the physical elements where the team worked hard on improving their fitness, the base fitness moving to the speed and and the power phase. This particular phase in the Netherlands is where we will focus on the tactical and technical side which means that we will be focusing a lot on how we play, that is the reason why we have four matches planned against very very strong opponents.”