Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena has admitted they will face a difficult task when they take on TP Mazembe in in CAF Champions League at Stade TP Mazembe on Saturday.
The Brazilians opened their campaign with a 2-0 victory against FC Nouadhibou 2-0 at home and will be looking to remain at the summit of the table by collecting all points on offer when they meet their counterparts. However, Mokwena has explained why he expects a tough game.
“We come with the Mamelodi Sundowns spirit which is a competitive spirit that is here to win, but also that’s governed by principles that speak of respect and humility for the opposition. We know we are playing against a very good team who are doing very well in their domestic league, having won eleven games and being second on the log, with some very good players who can create a lot of problems for you. We came here knowing very well that we are playing against five times CAFCL champions in their home ground and we expect a very difficult game.”
On what he expects from Mazembe, Mokwena said: “What has changed is that TP Mazembe are now playing a much younger team. You make an analysis and you see that there are only two players that are still in the team from the last time we met. That’s probably the only difference.”
He added: “We can have the information, which is the responsibility of we the coaches. Everything I say here is based off preparations and hours that went into watching TP Mazembe’s games. We understand that the number one thing is to come here and be prepared because coming here can be daunting. The atmosphere and hostility created by the supporters means that we have to make sure that we are well prepared because preparation eliminates fear. So it’s not about how to beat TP Mazembe, it’s about performing to beat them.”
On whether he has players returning from injury for the game, Mokwena said: “Fortunately we have players that have recovered and are available for selection but of course, when you have the schedule that we have, there’s an issue of wear and tear where we lose a couple of players.
“The good thing is our technical stuff, the medical team, sports science department and conditioning coaches have done an exceptional job in making sure that our players are always ready for the next performance and to try and keep them injury-free. I have to give credit to all of them for the incredible work that they are doing behind the scenes.”