Sundowns lament Maboe, Kekana absences

CAF Champions League

Rulani Mokwena has lamented the absence of Grant Kekana and Lebohang Maboe following Mamelodi Sundowns' CAF Champions League draw against Maniema Union.

On Sunday, reigning DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns opened their 2021/22 Champions League campaign with a 2-2 draw away to Congo's Maniema Union in the first leg of their second qualifying round encounter.

Masandawana, who are yet to concede in six domestic matches this season, were the dominant team against their foreign opponents but ultimately left with only a share of the points after an uncharacteristic display in defence.

Co-coach Mokwena was nonetheless pleased with his side's performance although he did lament the absences of defender Grant Kekana and Lebohang Manyama, the latter of whom could miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery in August.

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"Of course, we miss Lebo," Mokwena said following the match.

"Everybody knows the impact Lebo gives and the energy that he brings in the midfield, particularly in games of this nature in the Champions League where we need a little more legs to close down spaces and where we play against very robust and energetic opposition.

"You need very good counter-pressing and the ability to get an extra man from midfield into the attacking third, and normally Lebo gives us that so we are missing him there"

"We've got a slight situation with Grant Kekana. He's been very important for us this season and one of  the players who have helped us retain clean sheets within the defensive lines, so we missed him today."

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