October 2019 saw the arrival of Mauricio Affonso at Mamelodi Sundowns where then-head coach Pitso Mosimane clearly stated that the Uruguayan striker was bought so he could help Masandawana win another Caf Champions League title as they had no problems dominating the local scene.
The unfortunate part, however, is that Affonso has spent an overwhelming majority of his time at Downs in the casualty room, ratherthan on the pitch. Right now he is on the road to recovering from a series of injuries which include his ankle and groin.
Sundowns will have to start this season’s Champions League group stages without the 29-year-old as they welcome Sudanese side Al-Hilal on Saturday evening at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
“Affonso’s issues go way back even before I came back to Sundowns. I wouldn’t say he has chronic issues because from a medical perspective that would be a bit severe,” said Downs co-head coach Rhulani Mokwena.
“He has a few muscle-related issues and we are trying to make sure that we resolve the problem, because it is one thing to rush his rehabilitation and get him back to the pitch, but it is another thing to make sure you are thorough in the recovery process like the club did with Thapelo Morena and Rivaldo Coetzee,” he added.
Recently, Sibusiso Vilakazi made an early comeback from what was expected to be a lengthy injury lay off – something he has done twice in as many years – and this leaves Mokwena resting assured that Affonso will soon return to action to add to his 13 appearances paired with six goals.
“We have got a very good medical department that is able to assist in making sure that you don’t just rehabilitate from an injury, but you also heal completely. He is going through a very extensive rehabilitation process.
“The good thing is that he started with a bit of light football action in relation to being part of training. He is at that stage where he has been given a green-light to return to light training and that is a good sign, hopefully he will be back on the pitch because he is a good striker and he has a very good left foot that has the ability to find scoring possibilities instinctively.”