Pitso Mosimane Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane has already worked out the maths on how his side is going to progress into the knockout stages of their Caf Champions League campaign.

Mamelodi Sundowns secured a 3-1 win over AS Vita in their second group match this past week, a result which sees them now equal on four points with their Friday opponents, Esperance Sportive de Tunis.

Mosimane said it was quite crucial that the reigning champions fight for a win against their opponents when they host them at Lucas Moripe Stadium, if they are to increase their chances of finishing within the top two of their group in the remaining fixtures.

“We’ve got about seven to eight players who are out injured,” Mosimane said.

“However, we need to make sure that we go out there and fight for the maximum regardless. If we do that, we’ll now be sitting on a three point gap when we go to them for our second leg meeting.

"If we can get four (points) out of a possible six against Esperance in these two legs, then other teams will cancel each other out in the group. Esperance still need to travel to Kinshasa (to play AS Vita).

"Excuse me, but it’s not easy there. Vita will be our last game of the group at home. And hopefully by that time, the fate of the group would have already been decided.”

"Jingles", as Mosimane is affectionately known, also added that he had all the confidence in the world that his side could produce the desired result against Esperance, after having watched how his team have been playing on the continent recently.

“We went to Kinshasa and scored three goals against a side which had never lost in a game in (a long time),” Mosimane said. “And what does that tell you? That should tell you that this team (Sundowns) is now matured. The boys are much wiser and cleverer now. They know how to play in the Caf Champions League. 

"We just need to make sure that we win against Esperance at home so that we go on to being on seven points (with three group games remaining), while they remain on four. They would have to go and dig for points against the likes of AS Vita and Saint George in their remaining matches. We’ll have to play it smart (if they are to survive their group).”

With a number of his key players out injured as they endeavour to defend their Caf Champions League title, Mosimane said he was planning on bringing new players into his squad. Doing that, "Jingles" added, would help them deal with the pressure that comes with having to compete in both domestic and continental competitions in the new season.

Sundowns qualified for the 2018 Caf Champions League by finishing second in their league race this season.

“We’ve utilised everybody in this team,” Mosimane said. “Everybody ran the race this season except for one player, Flavio Bento. It’s unbelievable. We’ll have strengthen the team (for next season). We didn’t have legs to play with in our remaining few matches. 

"We didn’t have the likes of (Hlompho) Kekana, (Tiyani) Mabunda, (Ricardo) Nascimento, Wayne Arendse, (Soumahoro) Bangaly Bangaly and Khama (Billiat). It’s been (really rough). They were out injured. Credit, though, must go to my technical team because they helped us to manage this season really well.

“We can still do better, though.”


The Star

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