Whistlemen worry Igesund

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Gordon Igesund is a worried man going into the CAF Confederations Cup first leg fixture against CS Sfaxien at Sfax, Tunisia, tomorrow night.

No, he is not worried that Sfaxien are superior to his team overall, nor his long injury list; his concern is about the men in the middle.

In fact, Igesund's statements stop short of accusing Confederation of African Football (CAF) referees of corruption, and predict a rough ride for his team from match officials in north Africa.

"We know we are going into hostile territory. What worries me is that it is no secret that sometimes you do not get a fair crack from the referees," Igesund wrote on his club's website.

Igesund believes Sfaxien are desperate for maximum points after drawing their first game against Astres Douala of Cameroon.

"And at this point it is the officiating I am worried about. The last time we went to play Sportif de Gafsa, the situation was unbelievable.

"I don't want to talk about it, though. We have to be mentally strong. We have to be brave and bold and play to a certain system and although we expect the worst, we are well prepared."

Igesund travelled to Sfax minus the backbone of his team in Godfrey Sapula and Michael Manzini who are both injured. David Kannemeyer, who is registered for the competition, is also out.

In the absence of Manzini, Mbulelo Mabizela partnered Benson Mhlongo at central defence against TP Mazembe, but Igesund could be forced to reshuffle once more with Mabizela doubtful.

Tyren Arendse played in an unfamiliar right-back position but Vuyo Mere is back fit.

Sundowns also welcome back striker Lerato Chabangu but it is in defence where they will have to be solid to contain former Orlando Pirates striker Lelo Mbele and company.

Sundowns head the group with three points, and a draw against last year's Champions League finalists will ensure that they remain in the hunt for a place in the Confederations Cup semifinals.

Igesund wants to go as far as possible in this competition in preparation for next year's Champions League which they intend to win.