Sundowns ready for the jungle


Mamelodi Sundowns believe they have done enough homework ahead of their first ever meeting with AS Maniema Union in the second round of the CAF Champions League.

Sundowns travel up to DR Congo this weekend for the first leg of ther Champions League tie against Maniema, who finished second in Ligue 1 last season and went past Bouenguidi FC of Gabon in the first round to reach the last qualifying stage before the group stages.

The Brazilians will feel encouraged that their experience and familiarity with continental football will provide them with the edge in dealing with whatever their opponents throw in their direction.

"At this moment we already have Goolam (Valodia) who leads the travelling party in relation to the advance group, him and Khaled (Ali) specialise in the African sojourn for us," says Rulani Mokwena, Sundowns' joint head coach.

"It is a country that we have experience of even though it is a different city this time, but we are very familiar with the terrain, the weather and maybe that is why in a certain way we manipulated what would be our normal program for us.

"We would normally travel three or four days prior to the match but we are leaving a little bit closer to the match because of some of the situations that we know we would face in relation to the lack of proper training facilities.

"So the feeling is maybe to complete our preparations here and move towards a match day minus one and work on where we acclimatise ourselves to the stadium and get a feel of the ambience and the pitch.

"But at this time, we have already started working on the opposition and we know that they play a 4-2-3-1. We have the profile of the opponents in the first leg and we know the personality that they have, and they had particularly in the second leg which is the round before this one.

"In both matches the system was more or less the same and maybe in certain moments also posing different problems with regards to how they attack directly with very aggressive wing play and movement of the wingbacks and very quick strikers.

"The work has been done and we must be worried of the transitions. We have a responsibility and when you have a responsibility yours is to be diligent and work very hard by invest a lot of hours to make sure that the team is in the right space and ready to win a football match."

Sundowns are unbeaten this season with their last defeat having come against Al Ahly in last season’s Champions League.

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