Sundowns ‘are going to fight’ on three fronts
The Brazilians will take on Al Ahly over two legs in the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League, starting in Egypt next weekend. Sundowns are also in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup where they will face the Vaal University of Technology. And then there is also the not-so-small matter of the PSL title that they are defending. Sundowns trail Chiefs by 10 points having played one game less. Tomorrow they take on Chippa United at Loftus in the league.
“As a team we are used to this situation,” Zwane said. “We know how to deal with it. We are all focused. We all want to achieve the same goals. We want all these three Cups. For us, it is about being focused and taking it each game as it comes. We are going to go for the kill.”
Sundowns will wage this fight without Thapelo Morena who sustained an injury in the Tshwane derby against SuperSport United last Saturday. Morena sustained a fracture and ligament damage to his right ankle which forced him to undergo an operation.
“I spoke with Thapelo, in fact we speak each and every day,” Zwane said. “He is coming alright. His injury was bad, but us as players we have to support him. I am happy that Thapelo has a strong character and he is willing to take this injury as a learning curve and bounce back from it stronger. He is going to work hard to come back. As teammates we are going to go to him and support him.”
The Chilli Boys have a tendency to frustrate Sundowns. Chippa tackle Sundowns head on, instead of being intimidated by the former African champions. This results in their games not only being entertaining, but also tightly-fought encounters. This won’t change with Chippa enjoying a new lease of life under coach Norman Mapeza.
“They are playing good football,” Zwane said. “They rotate the ball very well. But for us, it is all about keeping the shape and trying to go forward more. We will try and score an early goal so that we can manage the game well.”
Sundowns will look at Zwane and Gaston Sirino for inspiration against Chippa. The pair make Sundowns tick with their skills and intelligence. Zwane’s inspirational performances have seen legendary figures like Clive Barker, who compared him to Doctor Khumalo, and Jomo Sono fawn over the midfielder and his talent. At first, the mention of the compliments showered on Zwane embarrassed him.
“It means a lot to hear those words,” Zwane said. “It shows that I am doing a good job for the team. But for me, personally, I think Sundowns isn’t a one-man team.”