Downs outline CAF CL ambition ahead of Al Ahly clash

CAF Champions League

Mamelodi Sundowns have warmed up the stage for this weekend’s clash against their former coach Pitso Mosimane by highlighting that their worries are bigger than this match.

Sundowns have already started plotting for their CAF Champions League battle with Al Ahly at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday evening.

It is the first of back-to-back fixtures with Al Ahly to travel to South Africa for the reverse match in a Group A also featuring the Sudanese pair of Al Hilal and Al Merreikh.

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"We are very much aware that this is a very difficult group, and we can never make that mistake of focusing all our attention on Al Ahly because it is a group where 12 points put you in a position to qualify as number one," says Rulani Mokwena, the Sundowns co-coach.

"But the reality is that Al Ahly only offer you six points and then you have to fight for the other points from Al Hilal and Al Merreikh and you have to give them the same amount of respect that you would in terms of your preparations and the attention to detail that you would give to Al Ahly.

"In fact, you would probably know that the other games against Al Hilal and Al Merreikh are more important in that space.

"Everyone was disappointed when we only beat Al Hilal 1-0, but the reality is that when you look at Al Ahly’s game against Al Hilal and when they draw you realise how difficult it was to win that match.

"We cannot be sidetracked by playing the name instead of playing the matches. We have matches to play and certain objectives to reach and we know that the first objective is to qualify from the group and not to beat Al Ahly.

"We want to be in the knockout and to be in the knockout means that we play every single match to try to win," explains Mokwena.

Since their loss to Al Ahly in May last year Sundowns have lost once and will feel the need to avoid defeat again on the road.

"We know that we have to always keep improving and that is the work we continue to do regardless of domestic competitions and Champions League because there are certain targets that we have set for ourselves.

"The ambitions of this club are far too great to relax and be content with where we are.

"We want to improve, get better and that is far more important than the rivalry that we face," adds Mokwena.

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