Sibusiso Vilakazi of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2017 CAF Champions League Mamelodi Sundowns Training at Chloorkop. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Sibusiso Vilakazi and his Mamelodi Sundowns teammates are not happy that their progression to the Caf Champions League quarter-final has been achieved without a win at home.

And they will be out to rectify this when they walk on to the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday night for their final group clash against AS Vita.

“We have to try and win at home,” Vilakazi, pictured, said following an intense training session at the club’s headquarters in Chloorkop “We have not done very well at home and we owe it to our fans to give them something to celebrate.”

Sundowns have drawn with St George and lost to Esperance in their home matches. But four points - a draw against the Tunisian giants and a win over the Ethiopian outfit - on the road plus the defeat of Vita has ensured their ticket to the knockout stage.

Now the holders of Africa’s premier club knockout title are intent on grabbing further maximum points in their own backyard. And the fact that they hammered their Congolese opposition in Kinshasa has many believing Sundowns will complete the round-robin phase with a win to give themselves a chance to top the group.

While Vilakazi says they have not given up on winning the group despite their fate not being in their own hands, he was quick to point out that the first round victory over Vita did not come easy.

“Actually it was a very tough game, but we responded very well and got the three goals. It was great to play in a crowded stadium with the people singing and we used the crowd as motivation.”

The Brazilians did exactly the same thing when they played Esperanace whom they held goalless before winning 1-0 at a St George side that had a packed stadium egging them on.

And perhaps this is why Sundowns have struggled to win at home where the stadium has always been near empty.

The club has appealed to South Africans to come in their numbers and whether this will be the case, especially given the very awkward kick-off time of Sunday at 7pm, remains to be seen.

The crowd factor notwithstanding, Vilakazi believes Sundowns will finally get that elusive win.

“The win at St George was good. We played with a very positive attitude and the job continues. We will try to keep the momentum and do well to give ourselves a break. We are in a good position but we’d like to finish on top. We have to win the match regardless of what happens in the other match (Esperance v St George). And it is motivating to hear that Vita are bringing all their players even though they are out of the competition.”

How Sundowns would love all their fans to pack the Lucas Moripe Stadium.


Saturday Star

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