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Rulani ready for Lubumbashi fire

Mazembe make entry to the stadium free for CAF tie with Downs

Neville Khoza Journalist
Mamelodi Sundowns Coach Rulani Mokwena
Mamelodi Sundowns Coach Rulani Mokwena
Image: Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is unfazed about the possibility of hostile conditions when they face TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League second group phase match at Stade TP Mazembe on Saturday (3pm).

Mazembe, who have announced tickets to the match venue will be free, are known for their hostile treatment when they host teams in the continental competitions, and Mokwena said they were prepared for anything.

Sundowns head into this match on the back of impressive form in both the domestic and continental competitions and won their first match in the group stage against Nouadhibou last week.

After Mazembe lost to Pyramids last weekend, they will aim to bounce back against Sundowns.

“Yeah, very important to keep our winning momentum going. It is an important game for us,” Mokwena told the media after their 2-0 victory over SuperSport United in the DStv Premiership match at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday.

“In my experience with the Champions League, there are probably three very hostile environments and Lubumbashi is one of them.

“If it’s not number one, it is number two in the top three. That’s the biggest thing for us, but now we’ve played in Casablanca, we’ve played in Algeria, we played in Cairo and those were very hostile too.

“I remember when we went to Ghana with Medeama SC, it was hostile.”

Having watched Mazembe lose against the Pyramids in the first match last week, Mokwena identified what he expects to face tomorrow.

“I watched them against the Pyramids. But I can’t say much until I check tonight [Wednesday],” he said of the Lamine Ndiaye-coached side.

“I have a lot of homework, to check this game [against SuperSport] first, do the corrections because tomorrow morning (yesterday) the players have to come in and we have to see some of the good that we have to improve.

“That’s the starting point before I can even talk about Mazembe. We have to recover the team, rest, drink lots of water and prepare ourselves to travel for what’s going to be a very difficult trip away from home.

“[Mazembe are a] tough team and the game against the Pyramids was a very good match. You could see a level of physicality that’s Champions League football for you.”

Sundowns enjoy a good record against Mazembe, having won the last three matches they met. They also won in Lubumbashi in 2021 in the group stages.

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