Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has revealed that the desperation of Egyptian fans to somehow overturn a 3-0 deficit in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final in Alexandria, Egypt, has even seen them resorting to death threats.
He spoke after a send-off from Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in Pretoria.
He said the team was well prepared and feeling confident ahead of the second leg at the Borg El Arab Stadium.
“This is a good week for us. Five days [to prepare] before the match,” he said, adding that it had been a luxury to give the players some down time on Monday after their excellent Saturday performance.
He said they’d done all their homework on Zamalek and watched several video packages on how their opponents played at home.
He added that they were alert to the risk of referees being swayed by home team pressure, though he stopped short of calling them corrupt.
“We’ve checked the referees to see how they deal with pressure. I’m not talking about cheating. We realise some of the fouls the referees will deal with differently in Egypt.
“At Lucas Moripe [Sundowns’ home game] the 12th player [the fans] played a very big part. And in Egypt it will play a very big part.”
He said the death threats players had received on social media was “OK” and wouldn’t affect the game.
“It’s mind games. The match is 11 against 11 on the pitch.”
Egyptian fans are known for trying to point laser beams into the faces of visiting players.
“The players have laughed about it … But they understand that there will be lasers in Egypt. I told them: ‘We’ve been there with Bafana – there were lasers, [and] nothing happened. So let’s go and play.”
Kickoff at the 86 000-seat stadium is on Sunday at 8.30pm SA time.
The stadium will be unusually empty as attendance is expected to be limited to 20 000 due to the political situation in Egypt. It’s unlikely the authorities will be able to enforce this limit though due to overwhelming interest in the match.