Themba Zwane does not want to get carried away too quickly, though Mamelodi Sundowns do have a 5-0 scoreline advantage to take with them to the return match against Al Ahly on Saturday evening.
‘Mshishi’, as the player is affectionately known, has said that it is important to be grounded and not think the job is completely done in their CAF Champions League quarter-final clash with the Egyptian side.
“We need to go there and fight,” he said. “That is the only way we can qualify. We shouldn’t think it is done. It is not over yet.”
The midfielder opened the scoring for Sundowns in last weekend’s memorable win at Lucas Moripe Stadium, with Wayne Arendse, Ricardo Nascimento, Gaston Sirino and Phakamani Mahlambi each getting a goal to put one foot in the semi-finals of the continental competition.
“Normally, teams like Al Ahly and Zamalek do not close at the back when they play away because they also want to score. So we knew they were going to be open. Our plan was to put the ball on the ground and play those one-twos so that we can penetrate them. We know that they are tall, that is why we avoided the crosses. We were penetrating with combination passes. I am happy that we managed to get five goals on the day.” He said he and his teammates did not expect the emphatic scoreline. “Honestly we did not, but we wanted to at least get three goals – not five,” said Zwane.
Al Ahly have already made it clear that they are going to try be on the front foot in their own backyard at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria. Kick-off is at 6pm local time here in SA.
“We know that they are going to come at us. We expect to be under pressure, but we are going to keep calm and try to play our football and try to get one or two goals,” Zwane said.
The Bafana Bafana midfielder revealed that he also wanted to get on the score sheet more regularly that he has been.
“I have put that pressure on myself. I need to take responsibility, obviously I am a senior player now and I need to take charge whenever I am on the pitch. I must try help (captain) Hlompho (Kekana),” he explained.
Zwane said Sundowns would be as determined to still go all out for a win without dwelling too much on what happened in the first leg.
“For me, personally, I think we need to play our game. We know they will come at us and they will be open at the back. So we have a strong attack and we can manage to get another two or three goals on the day.”
The Brazilians left for Cairo, Egypt earlier this week and will be hoping to return guaranteed of a place in the last four of the CAF Champions League and immediately prepare to host Tshwane rivals SuperSport United in an Absa Premiership derby on Wednesday, April 17.