“We Have So Much to Play For – Neo Maema

Mamelodi Sundowns lock horns with Cape Town City in Pretoria on Wednesday in what could be their record-extending 12th Premiership championship. The Tshwane giants crashed out of the CAF Champions League at the quarter final stage after they were held to a frantic 1-1 draw by Petro de Luanda at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening. Down’s gull back, Neo Maema expressed his disappointment at the ending of the Brazilians’ ambitions of winning a quadruple of trophies in the 2021-22 season.

“Following the exit of the Champions League we only got 24 hours to be disappointed, to feel the way we feel – disappointed, to be angry and to be mad. The whole family of Mamelodi Sundowns and the coaches gave us support, especially the supporters. It’s our responsibility now to shift our focus to the league, it wasn’t easy to deal with getting out of the competition that we really, really wanted to go all the way but it’s football and it happens.” 

“We are allowed to be sad and to be disappointed in ourselves because we expect so much from ourselves, we are a big club, we are top professionals so that’s what happens. The universe doesn’t always give you what you want, you have to fight for it and unfortunately we got out before the semi-finals but we are preparing to look forward to the next one.”

The Brazilians need only one point in their DStv Premiership encounter at home to City to secure their fifth consecutive Premier Soccer League championship and the  2022-2023 CAF Champions League place. The two rivals were contenders in the 2021/22 MTN8 final, with Bafana Ba Style coming out victorious and lifting the Wafa Wafa trophy after a mouthwatering penalty shoot-out. The Citizens currently occupy position number three in domestic league competition, 17 points away from Masandawana.

“It’s always a hard team to play against, looking at their past five games that they played, they’ve won four and only drew their last game. It only means that they are high in conference and they are gonna come at us, and coming from great results from the past few games it can only bring confidence into their game plan, we expect them to come at us [but] we’ve also been preparing for them.” Maema analysed his opponents form.

“We’ve watched some of their clips and we are just getting into a space of forgetting what happened and looking forward, the coaches as well as the senior players are also helping us to get over it and to start focusing on Cape Town City because we have so much to play for, the league is still there and also the Nedbank Cup. We are still looking forward to finishing the league and the season very strong.”

The Yellow Nation was treated to live entertainment performances from Top SA artists over the weekend in The Brazilians CAF Champions League encounter, including in-stadium giveaways, food and beverages as well as free tickets to the thrilling encounter. Maema took a moment to show appreciation to their 12th man and is also hoping for the same turnout as they move back to Loftus for their domestic games.

“I would just like to thank all the supporters that came in numbers at FNB to support us, we really love each and everyone of them who made their way to the stadium. I know it’s not easy to leave everything behind and come to watch us, but it’s heartfelt and we wanna thank them for coming in numbers, we cherish and honor them for trusting in us.”

“To all the supporters of Masandawana, I just want to encourage you all to come to the game on Wednesday, make sure that you get your tickets for free when you are wearing yellow and we can’t wait to see you again at the stadium.”

Mamelodi Sundowns come face to face with Cape Town City in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday, 27 April at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Kickoff is at 19H30, live on SuperSport channel 202.