Sundowns ready for Ahli Benghazi in vital Champions League clash

Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana
Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana
Image: Sowetan

The biggest challenge for Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi as they prepared to host side Ahli Benghazi in the Caf Champions League‚ second leg clash at Loftus on Saturday was to block the festive distractions.

Mngqithi‚ who took charge of the team’s preparations in the absence of coach Pitso Mosimane who returned to the country on Friday after attending a Caf Pro Licence course in Morocco‚ said the mission was to focus on ensuring the players were not distracted.

“There are a lot of things happening at this stage of the year‚ it is not easy when you have to wake up and go to work while other family members are enjoying their holidays‚’ said the experienced Mngqithi.

“Having said that‚ this group is experienced with some of the players having played for their national teams and they know what is expected from them as professionals. Our preparations have gone on very well and we must do everything in our power to take this team into the group stages.”

Mngqithi said the other key area they have focused on during their preparations was to emphasise the importance of winning this match and making it to the group stages to the players.

“It is not that they don’t know how important this match is for this club but it is our responsibility as coaches to continue drumming these things to them. This is an important match for us and we are going to do everything possible in our reparations so that we are ready. We are at home and generally at Loftus we pull good crowds which is important.”

Captain Hlompho Kekana added that they don’t have a choice but to win the match.

“This is a big match for us‚ we really have to win and put this team in the group stages and we will try by only means to win. The responsibility we have if to win‚ there is no excuse because we are playing at home‚ it didn’t happen away from home. It is easy for us to adapt to any situation because we have been playing in his tournament and we will use our experience to do that‚” said Kekana.

Attacking midfielder Lebohang Maboe said they must improve in front of goals as they fired blanks in the first leg in Egypt.

“Looking back at the match in Egypt in the first leg‚ I think we had a good but we did not bury the many chances that we created. On Saturday‚ we are looking at improving our performance and in front of goals so that we can kill the game. They are direct team and don’t build up that much but they have a strong left side. Now we know a thing or two about them and we are going to look to expose their weaknesses in the game‚” said Maboe.

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