Pitso Mosimane will name the strongest team he can for Saturday's match. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Highlands Park beware, the men standing in the way of you securing your Absa Premiership status are not just a bunch of sour players disappointed at having given up their championship title and eager to see the season end.

Mamelodi Sundowns will instead travel to Makhulong Stadium in high spirit and determined to bag maximum points on Saturday, so as to secure their place in the CAF Champions League.

Victorious in their second group match of the continent’s premier club competition out in Kinshasa on Wednesday, the Brazilians are looking to finish the domestic season in a flourish.

And coach Pitso Mosimane, speaking after their 3-1 defeat of AS Vita Club, spoke of beating Highlands Park as “a must”.

“The game on Saturday is important because we want to play Champions League for the fourth year in a row. That’s why we have to win. It’s a big game, we can’t lose because we don’t know what will happen with Cape Town City.”

Champions League football has become a must for the Brazilians, and even though his camp resembles a walking wounded hospital of sorts the African Coach of the Year said he will be able to put up a team that should do the job.

“The night before the match we found out that Tiyani’s (Mabunda) ankle has not healed so he didn’t play (against Vita). (Hlompho) Kekana has a quad muscle injury, We had no Wayne Arendse, no Khama (Billiat), Nascimento is not here and (Asavile) Mbekile is also not here, " Mosimane said.

"But the team showed strength and the experience to play and win. So we will have to freshen the team up for Highlands with players who have not played in this Champions League match.”

Looking back at the match, Mosimane gushed with pride at his team’s showing against difficult opposition.

“It was a good win. To go away and score three goals is good for morale, good for confidence,” he said. “We don’t have a big history of winning away, and now we’ve done that, it’s the opposite because we didn’t win at home in our first match.”

And the fact that the victory, achieved via goals from Laffor, Yannick Zakri and Sibusiso Vilakazi, was against seasoned campaigners who beat them previously was a sign of Sundowns’ growth in stature, he said.

“To beat a team like Vita in their own home in front of their supporters was beautiful.

“We’d not won in four games so to win away is good. We are tied with Esperance (on four points) at the top of the table. We have to go back home and do the business against them (Esperance) there.”

Before they take on the Tunisians though, Sundowns have the small matter of ensuring they guarantee yet another sojourn into the continent’s top competition by winning their last league match.

Not the kind of news Highlands Park would like to hear as they look to avoid returning to the National First Division (NFD).

The Star

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