Pitso Mosimane has a score to settle with Wydad Casablanca who have have broken Mamelodi Sundowns’ hearts several times. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane has a score to settle with Wydad Casablanca. The Moroccan giants have broken Mamelodi Sundowns’ hearts several times since 2017 when they knocked them out of the Caf Champions League quarter-finals - a trophy the Brazilians were looking to be the first South African team to retain.

They crossed swords with Wydad again the following year. Wydad eliminated Sundowns in the group stage, finishing first in Group C while the Tshwane giants settled for third place. In the 2018-19 Champions League they were also in the same group. Wydad finished ahead of Sundowns after beating them in Morocco and then they proceeded to knock Sundowns out in the semi-finals. This Saturday they will meet for the ninth time and Sundowns will be searching for their first victory in Morocco.

“It’s a big one for me,” Mosimane said. “That one is like winning the top eight (MTN8) for me, I just cannot crack it. I just cannot crack it! It’s tough there, we haven’t won there. We haven’t won nor drawn there, but we have now scored a goal there. It’s getting there. We try again. You know what it means, it means you haven’t tried hard enough. You need more. If we say we are putting more, we need more than that. Maybe this is the time. This will be the ninth time we are facing them, they are stubborn that team. We don’t struggle against them back home. It’s the Champions League, they know how to play it. They are experienced.”

Sundowns will leave for Morocco today and arrive there tomorrow. Mosimane will give the players a rest before they start their training on Wednesday. On Friday they will train at the Stade Mohamed V and then take on Wydad this Saturday. Sundowns are on three points in Group C after they got the better of Petro de Luanda 3-0 on Saturday. Wydad have a point after they drew with USM Alger away on the weekend.

“I saw the first 45 minutes of their match against USM Alger in Algiers,” Mosimane said. “USM scored early, but I knew that Wydad would score. It’s good for us that we are the only team that got maximum points in the first round. We should stay there. It’s in our hands to stay there. So we should fight to stay there, we don’t (want to) let Wydad and USM come to get the points that they want. 

We must play it smart. We must make sure that they don’t get free points. You’ve got to be able to know who is your competition, don’t go overboard just because we have won 3-0 at home. Keep Wydad and USM with less points as possible. 

When I look at the programme, I think that everyone will feed off this Angolan team (Petro de Luanda). The biggest one will be to win away against the team. If you do that, you have done yourself a big job.”

Bonginkosi Ndadane