PRETORIA – Pitso Mosimane is way too experienced a coach to not allow the emotions of the game to get to him. And it will be with this kind of attitude that he expects his team to take into their Caf Champions Group clash against Esperance de Tunis on Wednesday night (kickoff 10.50pm SA time).
The Mamelodi Sundowns coach, fondly referred to as Jingles, knows that defeat out in Tunis could prove catastrophic for their ambitions to emerge as one of the top two sides from Group C.
In their first leg meeting, Sundowns were subjected to a 2-1 defeat by a tactically sound Esperance side, a result which saw them drop to third place with four points after three matches.
A win in Wednesday's encounter will see them get their campaign back on track, with just two more games to go in the group phase.
Mosimane said qualifying for the last eight of the premier continental club knockout competition was a must for Sundowns.
“You cannot afford to be too emotional with regards to what’s in front of you,” Mosimane said in an interview posted on Sundowns’ official Instagram account.
“You must always look at the bigger picture, and the bigger picture for us is to qualify for the last eight (of this continental competition). Hopefully by then, we will have all of our players back (from injury).
"If we do that (get too emotional) then we are going to lose our plot. Our plot is to (focus) on the whole group and make sure that we qualify for the quarter-final (stages of this competition).”
The good news for Mosimane is that he has two of his key players who were injured available for selection. Both Hlompho Kekana and Anthony Laffor have been declared fit to play and will most likely bring their A-game to help the reigning African champions bring back maximum points from Tunisia.
Sundowns will, however, still be without the services of their two centre-backs Wayne Arendse and Ricardo Nascimento as well as striker Khama Billiat, the three still nursing niggling injuries.
Such is Sundowns' strength in depth though that Mosimane should still be able to put out a strong side.
Meanwhile, Platinum Stars striker Bongi Ntuli hopes his side will come out with a win when they host CS Sfaxien in their fourth Caf Confederation Cup group tie at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Wednesday night (Kick-off 7pm).
The centre-forward knows that failure to do so might lead to them missing out on a spot in the knockout stages of the competition, with two more games to go.
Dikwena are currently bottom of their group with just a point from three matches.
“Playing in the continent has been an interesting experience for all of us,” Ntuli said. “We just want to continue playing here. To do that though, we need to win all our remaining three group matches.
"If we can do that we will finish within the top two, when the group fixtures come to an end.”
Ntuli, who was loaned out to Dikwena at the beginning of this past season by Sundowns, said he hasn’t heard anything from his mother club on whether they wanted him back at Chloorkop or not.
However, the 26-year old, whose loan contract at Stars expires at the end of this month, gave hints that he wouldn’t mind staying with the Phokeng-based outfit on a permanent basis, now that he has established himself as a regular at the club.
“I love it here,” Ntuli said. “The intention of coming here was Sundowns wanted me to get a bit of game time and I’ve received more than that. I’ve been a regular feature here compared to the previous season when I first arrived.
"My loan contract expires at the end of this month and I haven’t heard anything from Sundowns as yet. It’s one of those things where I’ll have to wait and see what will happen next.”