Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says his players will require mental fortitude in order to better their last season’s record in the CAF Champions League.
The Brazilians resume their campaign in the group stages against Al Hilal of Sudan in Pretoria on Saturday. They are yet to move beyond the quarter-final stage since the 2018-2019 season.
Sundowns have consistently appeared in the CAF Champions League. They have featured in the past eight editions, winning it once in 2016 and reaching the semi-finals in 2019.
In the last three seasons of the CAF Champions League, Sundowns were knocked out in the quarterfinals. The current dominance of the team on the domestic front has created an expectation that the Brazilians can replicate their success on the continent.
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Although the team’s objective is to win every competition they partake in, they are also realistic about their chances. Perhaps it’s also a cautious approach not to put a considerable amount of pressure on themselves.
Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams says, “We just need to focus and control what we can control as players. It’s just to do our job like the coach said. We want to win each and every game, we want to win each and every Cup and if not we try again that is the mentality we have as a club. And you see we failed the last few years but we are improving and keep going and try and be better.”
Sundowns have played against Al Hilal before. In fact, the two teams have been drawn into the same group for the past three seasons. They have a good idea of what to expect from each other, making for an interesting contest.
Sundowns Coach Rulani Mokwena says, “But the team in relation to what we have seen and what we experienced last season is a little bit different and that is why we had to go a little bit into the profiling, put pictures to faces to characteristics so that players can memorise and store the facial profile of the players. But the context to it will add a bit more detail.”
The Sudanese giants come into this round with a new coach after the appointment of the experienced Florent Ibenge. He has an impressive pedigree after claiming the CAF Confederations Cup and Super Cup with Moroccan side RS Berkane.
“I first met him when we played against Vita a couple of years ago. I was still the assistant and to see how his career has progressed and how he has done exceptionally well as an African coach is something that brings a lot of motivation. It gives a lot of pride but also gives good inspiration,” adds Mokwena.
Although Sundowns have been dominant against Al Hilal in previous matches, they are wary of their opponents who are a strong force in their country. Mokwena made a plea to the Yellow Nation to come in their numbers to give the team an extra push.
Sundowns Coach says, “We ask for a lot of support on Saturday and that energy to come in not for a quiet stadium but a stadium that has the yellow drum that has the energy to be able to push us through to giving a good performance because we are going to need that to beat Al Hilal.”
The match kick-off is at three o’clock in the afternoon.
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com