Chances are Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has been losing sleep over their CAF Champions League opponents this weekend.
Through his meticulous work, aided by talented players, dedicated staff and a team of skilled analysts, Mosimane has managed to decode North African opponents, who have always given South African clubs problems.
Sundowns, who emerged as strong continental contenders under the tutelage of Mosimane, have managed to go pound for pound and held their own against Al Ahly, Zamalek and other African giants. However there’s one team that seem to be giving Sundowns trouble – Wydad Casablanca.
“It’s stubborn that team,” said Mosimane about the Moroccan side that his men face in the CAF Champions League Group C clash in Casablanca this Saturday.
“It’s a big one for me. That one is like winning the top eight for me. I just cannot crack it. It’s tough there. We haven’t won and we haven’t drawn. We lose but we score a goal. We needed one goal last year here to eliminate them but very difficult.”
Wydad inflicted severe harm on Mosimane when they held Sundowns to a goalless draw in Champions League semifinal second leg clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium last season.
Mosimane doesn’t take defeat kindly.
Once again, the 2016 Champions League winner will be seeking revenge and to maintain the status quo in Group C, where Sundowns are at the top with three points while Wydad and USM Alger are behind them with a point apiece.
Petro de Luanda are at the bottom with no points.
“We try again. You know what it means. It means we haven’t tried hard enough. You need more. If we say we are putting more, we need more than that. We don’t fool ourselves, we need one more. Maybe this is the time. I think it is the eighth or ninth time we meet them (Wydad). We don’t want to struggle back home,” said Mosimane.
Mosimane says the PSL Champions have to avoid a loss at all costs so that there’s no movement, at least upward, for Wydad, arguably the strongest opponent in the Group.
“It’s good for us that everybody in the group didn’t get maximum points. We got maximum. It gives us an advantage. We should stay there. It’s in our hands to stay there. So we don’t let Waydad come and you don’t let USM to get the points that they want. We must play smart. We must make sure that Waydad don’t get full points next match. Even if we don’t win, we get a draw. You keep them at two points. They get two out of six points. That’s a big one,” said the former Bafana Bafana coach.
Mosimane’s men will go all out for victory. The fluid and free flowing football that the Brazilians are accustomed to may be set aside in favour of results in Casablanca.
By Hosea Ramphekwa