Mosimane describes Sundowns matches against Morocco's Wydad as 'forever derby'

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane arrives at the stadium.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane arrives at the stadium.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Pitso Mosimane wants fans from all over South Africa to get behind his side when they take on Wydad Casablanca in a CAF Champions League “derby” at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday‚ defending an incredible home record in Africa’s elite club competition.

Sundowns come up against a Moroccan club who have become a nemesis in recent years with what will be their 10th meeting since 2017‚ and will secure top spot in their pool with a draw.

That should provide an easier path through the quarterfinals‚ and Sundowns’ record in front of their own fans in the Champions League should give plenty of optimism that they can achieve the point they need.

The Brazilians have only lost once in 52 Champions League matches they have hosted‚ an incredible run of consistency since they made their debut in the competition in 1994.

Those 52 games have also yielded 39 wins and 12 draws‚ with their only defeat a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Esperance in 2017.

The Tunisian side was very much on the up at the time and have gone on to lift the Champions League trophy in the last two seasons.

Their home record against Wydad reads two wins and two draws in four games so far‚ and Mosimane wants fans to get behind his team.

“The game against Wydad is forever a derby‚” he says.

“These are not easy games‚ as much as both of us have qualified [for the quarterfinals]‚ but you will see on Saturday they are forever derbies.

“There is a lot of pride at stake‚ bragging rights‚ but more importantly who finishes first in the group.

"You finish first because you want to avoid playing the number one in the other groups‚ the Esperances and TP Mazembes. That is what we will fight for.”

He says he will not have to rally his players‚ who have developed a healthy rivalry with Wydad over the last three years.

“This is a big game that you don’t have to psyche the players up for. There is pride at stake. The players want to play in this game. It is a game that our supporters want to see‚ the continent is waiting for it.

"It is a game that they will be watching‚ not just in Morocco‚ but in Egypt and Tunisia also.”

Mosimane has challenged the ‘Yellow Nation’ to turn out and match the atmosphere that his side has to contend with when they play away at Wydad.

“The challenge is to match Wydad. We are expected to match Wydad on the pitch‚ I would like to think our supporters also want to rise to the challenge against Wydad.

“You see how they [Wydad fans] fill the stadium and the noise they carry. They sang for us‚ they gave us a standing ovation‚ they chanted my name. It was humbling.

“We need to show as the Yellow Nation that we are capable of doing the same. That is the challenge to my people.”

He says also that the whole of South Africa should rally behind his side.

“We need to not look at the emblem of Sundowns‚ but think of the national flag‚ that is what we will be representing on Saturday. When we won the tournament [in 2016] we had all fans here‚ fans from Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

"I have never seen anything like that‚ it was like when we won the [Rugby] World Cup. The whole country was united.”

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