Following Mamelodi Sundowns’ historic five-goal win over Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League quarter-final, Pitso Mosimane, the manager of Sundowns, said there’s still a long way to go in the title race.
He told Daily News Egypt that facing Al Ahly in the second leg in Cairo will not be easy. “We hope to keep a clean sheet in the first 15 minutes as we expect Al Ahly to attack aggressively on Saturday,” he added.
Mosimane said he would have preferred to avoid confronting Al Ahly in the quarter-finals, because it is one of the best teams. Sadness was dominating the South African team after the Moroccan Wydad Athletic Club led their group putting Sundowns in a direct clash with the Club of Century. But we prepared well for the match, which was clear in the first leg of the game.
Furthermore, he stressed that he studied Al Ahly well and watched seven previous games of the Cairo giant to know their strengths and weaknesses, which enabled Sundowns to utilise uncovered spaces behind Al Ahly players to achieve a great victory.
“Sundowns have big players and are capable of playing well in Cairo. We aim to keep a clean sheet and put pressure on Al Ahly midfielders and maybe score a goal or two,” he said, adding that they respect the competitor and warned players of sluggishness against Al Ahly, which won the African title eight times and have a wide experience in the competition.
Asked about recent rumours that Sundowns used sorcery to beat Al Ahly, Mosimane smiled and said this is inappropriate, as big teams rely on their experience and science while talks about magic and sorcery is irrelevant, noting that they beat Zamalek in the 2016 Champions League final’s first leg 3-0 and lost 0-1 in Cairo, which gave them the title.
He pointed out that South Africa is amongst the advanced countries in football and has many good players, which could be seen in the country’s results in African championships.
On the other hand, Mosimane said that Al Ahly has the right to play among its fans, which will be subject to security approvals, adding that the attendance of fans gives the team an edge.
He added that he set his programme before coming to Cairo, where he will give the players respite after reaching Egypt to avoid fatigue after their eight-hour flight. The players will then train on Wednesday and Thursday. They will then train for 15 minutes on the night before the game. He noted he likes to reduce the pressure on the players before the game.
Over and above, Mosimane said he watches his competitors’ games in the presence of his players to explain and clarify their mistakes and tell his players how to carry out their roles.