Preview: Rayon Sports v Mamelodi Sundowns

2018-03-07 10:05
Pitso Mosimane (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns have given themselves plenty of time to prepare for the CAF Champions League first-round, first-leg clash away to Rayon Sports on Wednesday.

Pitso Mosimane's squad flew to Rwanda just hours after beating AmaZulu 3-1 in Durban on Friday, where goals from Ricardo Nascimento (penalty) and Sibusiso Vilakazi (brace) kept the Brazilians four points clear at the top of the Premiership standings.

The victory at the King Zwelithini Stadium was only their fourth in nine league games since the mid-season break, which has given the chasing pack hope of catching Downs in the remaining seven fixtures.

Mosimane admits he has gambled with team selections of late to keep key players fresh for continental action and the run-in to the domestic season, with Vilakazi, Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane and Tiyani Mabunda all expected to feature in Kigali.

"It's been difficult juggling our domestic and continental commitments," he was quoted as saying on the club's official website. "I have taken some risks with how we manage our squad.

"I have been resting Themba Zwane, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Hlompho Kekana because they are Bafana Bafana players. They have played a lot of football and they have travelled a lot.

"We also rested Jeremy Brockie, who played in the CAF Confederation Cup. You saw how Vilakazi lifted us when he came on against SuperSport United after being rested.

"Zwane and Kekana are fresh. We rested Tiyani Mabunda against SuperSport United. It's risky but we have to juggle the team to make sure that in the final last five games we have legs and fresh legs.

"Bafana players know how to play in the continent. Vilakazi, Zwane, Kekana and Mabunda are the big guns who have played in the continent and most of them were there when we won the Champions League.

"This is the time to bring them on now because we sacrificed them in the league to ensure that they are fresh. It's risky but we can afford them."

Olivier Karekezi's side are also top of the table in their league, although only goal difference separates them and Kiyovu Sports in second place.

The Nyanza outfit have played just four games in the Rwanda National Football League after a lengthier mid-season break, while they saw off LLB Academic of Burundi on away goals in the previous round of Africa's elite club competition.

Kick-off is at 18:00 


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The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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