Mamelodi Sundowns are already preparing for next season’s CAF Champions League
Posted: 20 October 2016 Time: 20:20
Mamelodi Sundowns have travelled to Egypt with a host of players not eligible to face Zamalek as they already eye next season’s competition.
Sundowns touched down in the north African country on Thursday morning ahead of their continental showdown with the Egyptian giants on Sunday evening.
There will be little turnaround time following the final, as they then shift focus to Telkom Knocout action against Polokwane City next Thursday, with a number of players set to feature in that domestic tie having boarded the plane to Alexandria as well.
“As part of the integration process, we have taken players who will also take part in the Telkom Knockout match on Thursday, players such as Thapelo Morena and Sibusiso Vilakazi … they are all here, to prepare for the match on Thursday, while also giving them first-hand experience of how we do things when we go play in the Champions League,” Communications Co-ordinator Thulani Thuswa tells KickOff.com.
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“We’ve done this a lot before: even in the semi-finals, we took players to Zambia as part of the bigger plan – when we come back here again next season in the Champions League, it must not feel new to these players, when they see the tough conditions or mind games.
“It’s important that they already know that by then, so we felt we had to bring them along for the experience, whether we win or not, so they get a taste of it.”
Star defender Wayne Arendse, who was named by CAF as one of the top three defenders in the competition, is suspended for Sunday’s final, but still travelled with the team.
“Wayne is here as well – he’s suspended, but he’s here, mainly to get his medal!” Thuswa says. “He’s been fantastic, and one of the top three defenders in the competition, and to recognise him, he had to be here.”
Sundowns lead Zamalek 3-0 from the first leg played in Pretoria last Saturday.
By Fabio De Dominicis in Egypt
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