MAMELODI Sundowns coach Hristo Stoichkov will have all his players back tomorrow.
In addition to the eight players returning from national duty with Bafana Bafana, Zambian Felix Katongo, Mozambique's Elias Pelembe and Esrom Nyandoro, who captains Zimbabwe, will also rejoin the rest of the Brazilians.
In their absence, the likes of Lerato Chabangu, Surprise Moriri and Brazilian Eduardo Ferreira have made great strides, according to team spokes-person Alex Shakoane.
"The competition for places is going to get even tougher.
"If you look at how a player like Lebogang Mokoena has been playing of late, you realise the position the coach will be in when he selects his starting 11," Shakoane said.
If Shakoane is to be believed, the fact that Downs had so many players unavailable while the plot to overtake SuperSport United at the top of the log was being hatched did not ruffle the Bulgarian's feathers. "Our biggest concern is only that they all return without injury."
Meanwhile, midfielder Koketso Mmotong says the break was positive for those who have been on the fringes at the team.
"We got lots of attention and that was obviously invaluable. I guess the coach saw what he wanted from those of us who stayed behind. He kept encouraging me to keep working hard. All we have to do now is win our own matches," Mmotong said.