Pitso bullish ahead of Esperance clash

Pitso Mosimane coach of Mamelodi Sundowns (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Pitso Mosimane coach of Mamelodi Sundowns (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is already looking ahead to the knockout rounds, as his side gear-up to take on Espérance in a crunch Caf Champions League clash tonight.

The Champions League holders could seriously do with a positive result in this Group C encounter as they trail table-topping Esperance by three points, and Ethiopian giants St George by one point heading into this round of fixtures. The top two teams in the group will reach the quarterfinals, but Mosimane remains positive.

“I look on the other side, I was looking at Zesco United last year before we played them in the semifinal. This time around we are also looking on the other side. We know that there is Al Ahly SC and we know that there is Zanaco FC, they are very strong. Wydad Athletic Club are also playing in that space, so we have got to box smart. We have got to try and go out of the group … we might not be No.1,” admitted Mosimane.

“We have to understand that there are a lot of tactics in this thing. So we have got to be smart about it. Remember when we played Zamalek last year, we played them at 3pm, and we know why. So this thing will still twist and turn,” he added, in reference to the heat that Sundowns were forced to play in for the second leg of the final.

“Jingles” also made mention of his injured players, stressing that Espérance would not have walked away with the win in Atteridgeville if had he had his full squad at his disposal.

Mosimane does however remain hopeful that the likes of Wayne Arendse, Khama Billiat, Denis Onyango, and Ricardo Nascimento all fit by the time his side reaches the knockout stages.

Mosimane’s side will be bolstered by the return of Anthony Laffor and skipper Hlompho Kakana from injury tonight.

“At that time we might have all the players, but we will never know how the draw will be. It is going to be a big fight,” he said.

The Tunisians beat the defending champions 2-1 in Atteridgeville, courtesy of a late penalty and assistant coach Mouïne Chaabani is adamant that the Brazilians will also leave the Stade Olympique de Rades empty handed in the reverse fixture.

“We should get all the points in our stadium. For the last two years we have not participated in the competition, but we have returned very strong and we have prepared our team. Our objective is to win the Champions League,” said Chaabani.

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