Mamelodi Sundowns' Wayne Arendse wary of Real Madrid distraction at FIFA Club World Cup
Posted: 6 December 2016 Time: 13:16
Wayne Arendse insists Mamelodi Sundowns' focus is firmly on their first game at the FIFA Club World Cup rather than the prospect of potentially facing Spanish giants Real Madrid in the tournament.
Sundowns will get going on Sunday (12h30 SA time) at the Suita City Stadium in Osaka, Japan against the winner of the Kashima Antlers and Auckland City tie.
This is the match that Arendse says they are concentrating on.
“We are excited and have been looking forward to this for long now and we are finally here now. I think the guys are excited and cannot wait,” says the towering centre-back.
“Obviously we need to win our first game to stay in the tournament to play up until the very last day. I think we cannot get ahead of ourselves and be talking about Madrid when we still have the first game to be focusing on. I think the first game is very crucial for us, we need to see who we are going to play against and obviously we need to take it one step at a time because like I said we can’t look ahead of ourselves as we might get knocked out in the first round because we have forgotten about the opponents. So for now, we are looking at the first game and waiting to see who we come up against.”
Antlers, as winners of the host country's league, are up against the Oceania Football Confederation champions Auckland City in the first game of the showpiece on Thursday.
“Our video analysts are on top of their game. They have both teams prepared. They have checked Auckland out and they have also checked the team from Japan (Kashima Antlers) along with the other team (Atletico Nacional, semi-final opponents standing in waiting). They are on top of their game and as soon as it is confirmed we will be on top of them. We will watch their videos, dissect them and see what their strengths and weaknesses are and what it is that we need to prepare for and what we need to counter as well. So as soon as that result is confirmed as well we will be on top of it,” explains Arendse.
The Brazilians – who will arrive in Osaka tonight – have travelled with all their players even though only 23 are registered for the competition.