It’s all about finishing off the job professionally for Mamelodi Sundowns when they meet with Zamalek in the second leg of the Caf Champions league final in Egypt on Sunday night – Supersport
The showdown at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria kicks off at 8:30pm (South African time) with Downs favourites after their 3-0 first leg victory in Attridgeville last Saturday.
The Pretoria-based side are aiming to become only the second PSL club, after Orlando Pirates in 1995, to win the continent’s biggest club prize.
They have already beaten Zamalek in Egypt this year – 2-1 in a group game, also recording a 1-0 home win in the group stage.
Sundowns’ opponents are a team Pitso Mosimane and his players know very well – and having played them three times while only conceding a single goal, and they will surely fancy their chances.
They will, however, be without influential defender Wayne Arendse, whose yellow card last week rules him out through suspension.
Arendse did superbly to put the shackles on the dangerous Basem Morsi and whoever comes in for the Cape Town born centre-back, likely Ivory Coast defender Bangaly Soumahoro, has a crucial role to play.
Sundowns’ greatest enemy, apart from the partisan home crowd who are expected to top 70 000, could be complacency.
Any thoughts that they already have a hand on the trophy should be put to bed – football is unpredictable on the continent and Egyptian clubs know what it takes to overcome the odds, be it through brilliant play or underhanded tactics.
An example of the unpredictable nature of the continent’s premier club tournament can be found in Zamalek’s semi-final, where they beat Wydad Casablanca 4-2 at home only to lose 5-2 in Morocco.
And coach Moeman Soliman has not given up the ghost yet.
“The game is not finished. Obviously we need a miracle to win the cup. We have to prepare ourselves. We beat Wydad and we went to Morocco and we lost 5-2 there. It can be possible. We need to work hard and do a plan,” he said.
Sundowns forward Khama Billiat, one of several players who has been outstanding for his side during their pan African adventure, underlined the importance of maintaining focus in an interview with Kick-Off earlier this week. “Everyone is positive, but we’re professional about it – we know we can’t be too excited, and we have to do the job,” he said.
“Pitso is experienced enough, and knows we cannot be too excited and we must continue to work. We haven’t changed the way we do things before games – watching videos, match analysis, corrections of the last game, etc.
“This shows his character, that he’s not someone that gets carried away with what the situation tells him.
“And as players, we owe him that same level of mentality. He’s told us to keep our minds and be grounded about it until we do the job.”
The Egyptians have named the same squad which did duty in the first leg, including goalkeeper Ahmed El Shennawy, who went off injured in Tshwane.