'We have a good enough squad:' Downs' Mokwena confident ahead of sold-out Pirates clash without Bafana stars

Sithembiso Dindi Sports Reporter
Sundowns coach Rulani Rulani Mokwena during a media day at Chloorkop on February 15 2024.
Sundowns coach Rulani Rulani Mokwena during a media day at Chloorkop on February 15 2024.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena would have loved to have a full complement of regular players in his squad for the titanic sold-out clash against Orlando Pirates but remains confident the available players will do the job.   

Sundowns will host the Soweto giants in a DStv Premiership fixture at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday (8pm) without most, if not all, of its Bafana Bafana players.   

Bafana players who were part of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ivory Coast returned home on Wednesday morning.   

Sundowns had 10 players in the Bafana side that brought home a bronze medal and Mokwena has already stated most of them are not available due to injuries while there’s a need to rest others.   

Only Grant Kekana and Terrence Mashego formed part of Sundowns training on Thursday.   

The players likely to be missed are goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, captain Themba Zwane, Mothobi Mvala, Aubrey Modiba, Thapelo Morena, Thapelo Maseko, Khuliso Mudau and Teboho Mokoena.   

Despite the possibility of these players not being available, Mokwena is confident they have enough depth to take on Pirates.    

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“We know how difficult the game is going to be. It's always very difficult after such a long period and also for us we have not had all our players at the same time for every training session,” Mokwena said.   

“That also makes it a little bit complicated, but we’ve got a very good squad and we’ve got a lot of very good players in every position.   

“We feel that we are strong enough to go into the game with the squad that we have.”   

Sundowns will be eager to stretch their unbeaten run at the top of the DStv Premiership table.   

From their 14 league outings, Masandawana have recorded an impressive 12 wins and two draws to put themselves in the driving seat to defend their league title for the seventh time in a row.   

Meanwhile, Pirates will be eager to return to winning ways after losing their last two games in December before the Afcon-enforced break.   

Pirates have played 16 games, won seven, drawn four and lost five. They are placed in position five with 25 points — 13 behind Sundowns.   

Pirates also had four players Nkosinathi Sibisi, Thabang Monare, Zakhele Lepasa and Evidence Makgopa at Afcon with Bafana.

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