CAF Champions League CCL: Morena explains what Sundowns must do to beat Esperance in Tunis

Mamelodi Sundowns have finally landed in Tunisia for their CAF Champions Leage semi-final encounter against Esperance on Saturday at Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi.

Ahead of the first leg of the two-legged semi-final round, defender, Masandawana defender Thapelo Morena spoke about the importance of regeneration following a long flight to Tunisia and preparations in the last few hours before the match.

“I think regeneration is very important for us especially after the long flight and to bring back the fresh legs. Obviously when we arrived on Wednesday, we couldn’t do a lot but fortunately we were able to do a lot of work in video analysis,” Morena said as quoted by the club’s official website.

Morena, as one of the defenders who represented South Africa at the most recent African Cup of Nations, would be aware of the style of play that the Tunisians would display, especially because Bafana Bafana played against Tunisia in the AFCON group stages where the match ended in a goalless draw.

On the kind of play they should expect from the hosts, Morena highlighted that in order to get desired results, his side will need to squeeze their counterparts inside. “Of course, in the first few minutes they will com guns blazing especially because they are playing at home. They are mostly going to go on the sides as how they played in the AFCON. The most important thing for us will be to try and close the sides and force them inside,” he said.

Just like the crowd of Egyptian side, Al Ahly, the Esperance supporters are one of the most exciting in African football. That however, according to Morena, who has played against the Smiling One before in 2017, will not make the Brazilians lose their focus.

“I think they have one of the best crowds I’ve ever played for as it’s not my first time playing in Tunisia an against ES Tunis. I think this season is going to be way better than the last season I was here because the team is not the same. We are going to have a great atmosphere, and the most important thing is the flames and firecrackers that will be around the field,” added Morena.

“Our mindset is a bit different when we play in the Champions League because when you play away, you see the other teams’ supporters and how passionate they are at home. The atmosphere is going to be something else.”

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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