not down

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Despite cynics expecting little from them, Mamelodi Sundowns players have refused to feel undermined on the eve of their Confederations Cup match against Egyptians Hars el-Hadoud.

Sundowns, South Africa's perennial underachieving sons in continental competition, face the Egyptians tomorrow at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Kickoff is at 3pm.

Twice in a row the Brazilians have failed to break into the mini-league stages of the African Champions League, but according to the side's stalwarts Brian Baloyi, Surprise Moriri, Esrom Nyandoro and Michael Manzini, feel disappointment is all part of the process - and winning the Confederations Cup is a stepping stone to conquering the big one.

"I have studied the winners of these competitions, and all the clubs that have won the CAF Champions League have first done well in the Confederations Cup," goalkeeper Baloyi, who won this cup once before with former team Kaizer Chiefs, said.

But first Trott Moloto's side has to beat the Egyptians here and away, and with only 13 players, since the 10 new signings are not eligible for both games.

With Brent Carelse, Tyren Arendse, Benson Mhlongo and Godfrey Sapula gone, the bench is pretty thin.

"We really have to keep soldiering on, and won't be looking for any excuses. We can't talk about it being early in the season, or the number of players we do or don't have," said Moriri.

Downs are also said to be still determining the futures of Elias Ngwepe, David Kannemeyer and Peter Ndlovu.

l Platinum Stars are also active this weekend, hosting defending champions CF Sfaxien of Tunisia at Olympia Stadium in Rustenburg tomorrow.

While they eventually succumbed to African giants Al Ahly in the Champions League, Miguel Gamondi's side did their reputation on the continent a lot of good in a sparkling performance to beat the Egyptians 2-1 at home.

But this could prove to be a double-edged sword, as their anonymous status is now lost forever, and Sfaxien are unlikely to take them lightly.

Before he left, former Orlando Pirates player Lelo Mbhele would have told Sfaxien all they needed to know about Stars as well.

Though Koketso Mmotong has defected to Sundowns, Gamondi can rely on the likes of George Mofokeng, Stanley Kgatla, Tshepo Ramokala and Muzi Mkalipa to do the job for him.

Sadly for the Argentinian Edward Williams is suspended for this match.