Sundowns edged Ea Lla Koto 2-1 in the first half of the season in Luc Eymael’s first match in charge following the departure of Sammy Troughton.
Since taking over at Stars, Eymael has turned Ea Lla Koto from being relegation battlers to league title dark horses, so Downs can expect an even tougher test.
Stars are not an easy side to beat, often defending well and using the speed of players such as Sinethemba Jantjie, Goodman Dlamini and Katlego Mashego to cause problems on the break.
One thing’s for sure: Vilakazi is not taking the men from the Free State lightly.
“They have been a difficult team to beat. They are a stubborn side, especially when you play them in their backyard. But even when they play away they can get points, so we need to be guarded. They have picked up a lot of points to get to a point where they are close to us on the log,” he tells KickOff.com.
A win for Sundowns would be the perfect way to warm up for the Tshwane derby against SuperSport United on Saturday, but Vilakazi says they need to guard against focusing on the derby when their attention should solely be on Ea Lla Koto.
“If we win the game [against Stars], then we will look to the next one. That’s the mentality we need to have – win our games, win our games. But firstly, you need to deal with the moment because you live for the moment. It’s important that we keep the focus and not look too far ahead,” he says.
“It [the league] is going to be a marathon. There’s 10 games to go, so the important thing is to focus on Free State Stars. It’s going to be a tough one because we are at that stage where everybody wants points. It’s about consistency. We are sitting on top of the log so we would like to keep that gap. We are in a position where we don’t need favours from anyone and we would like to keep it that way.”
Kick-off is at 19h30.