JOHANNESBURG – Themba Zwane says Mamelodi Sundowns are under no illusions that their 2-0 first leg, Caf Champions League preliminary round win over Leones Vegitarianos is good enough to see them through to the next round.
“A 2-0 lead is not comfortable. We obviously need to get another one so we can be able to relax and play our normal game,” the Sundowns star said yesterday as he looked ahead to the second leg match taking place at Loftus tonight.
Given their stature in continental football as former African champions, many would consider a 2-0 away victory good enough to see Sundowns progress. After all, they are hosting the match on the back of a convincing 2-1 win over neighbours SuperSport United over the weekend. And having been the star of that match, you would expect Zwane to be cock-a-hoop as he anticipates the visit of the team from Equatorial Guinea.
Instead the man the Sundowns fans fondly refer to as Mshishi warned against complacency and urged his teammates to treat the second leg as a completely new match, forgetting about the win in the first leg.
“The game is very important for us because it (the tie) is not done yet. We know they are going to come at us,” Zwane warned. “We need to be patient in our game.”
Zwane knows that an early goal will be key if they are to kill off the tie.
“We need to convert the chances we are going to create into goals. I am sure we will create chances. But at the moment we are struggling, we create many chances, but we don’t score a lot,” he said.
While the primary objective is to see Sundowns through to the first round of Africa’s premier club competition, Zwane also has some personal goals that he would like to achieve. And matches such as tonight’s one give him that opportunity.
“I still need to push myself more. There’s a lot of improvement I still need to do in my game. I need to work hard. So it is important to be consistent and to play each and every game. We have quality players at Sundowns that whenever one is given a chance you need to perform. And if you do, you get to go into the national team and stay there,” Zwane said.
That Sundowns have a hectic schedule is of no concern to Zwane.
“The back-to-back matches, well so far so good. The technical team is managing us well, we’re coping. We have big numbers, enough depth to play these games,” Zwane said.
And a good win for Sundowns plus another Man-of-the-Match showing from him (he was the star of Sunday’s Tshwane derby) tonight and Zwane’s star will continue to rise.@Tshiliboy