Absa Premiership

Preview: Sundowns v Medeama

2016-05-07 08:00
Mamelodi Sundowns (File)

Cape Town - All indications are that Mamelodi Sundowns will not be taking their CAF Confederation Cup match against Medeama FC lightly.

The match takes place at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night, kick-off set for 18:00. The return leg in Ghana is scheduled for May 17 or 18 in Tarkwa.

The Brazilians dropped down into the Confederation Cup, Africa's second-tier club competition, after being eliminated from the CAF Champions League by AS Vita two weeks ago.

The Tshwane outfit wrapped up the Premiership title this week when a 3-0 win over University of Pretoria gave them an unassailable lead over Bidvest Wits.

But rather than resting on his laurels, Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane was already talking about winning more titles, and also about conquering Africa.

The Champions League would of course be the number-one prize, but with Downs set to compete in that competition again next year, the 2016 Confederation Cup could certainly provide the team with some additional valuable experience on the continent.

It's also their last shot at adding another trophy to their cabinet this season to go with the league title and the Telkom Knockout, Masandawana having recently been knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by Orlando Pirates.

"Just like the CAF Champions League, the CAF Confederation Cup will test our mental and tactical readiness to conquer Africa," said the former Bafana Bafana coach.

"The guys won the title on Wednesday evening and were back in training on Thursday morning. We play every three days, but our players are professionals - that is what the big teams do.

"You only play every three days if you are still in cup competitions, we can choose to play every seven days, but that means you are out of everything - so we choose the other option."

In terms of history, success and prestige, the Brazilians will surely be heavy favorites against a Medeama side that has only been in existence since 2002, the club having never won the league in Ghana but rather qualifying for the Confederation Cup by winning the domestic cup back home. They currently lie 10th in the standings.

But Mosimane has been in the game long enough to know not to take any opposition lightly, especially in Africa.

"Medeama are a typical Ghanaian team - technical, build up from the back," he explained.

"They have a player - number five - a central midfielder - he is the man who makes them play, switches the ball left and right, terrific from set-pieces.

"Their wingers, they play a little bit narrow to create space for the full-backs, a typical Ghanaian team - they play, they play, they play. We have to make sure we recover the ball as quick as possible because they are ball-players. They don't kick and fight, they play good football."

There have been rumours that Medeama coach Tom Strand failed to travel with the team to South Africa after reportedly recently having gone missing for the last two league games. Although there have been counter-claims that he will be in Pretoria, there has been no official confirmation.

Sundowns are expected to have a clean bill of health for the game, while there have been no reports of any absentees for the team from Ghana.

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  soccer


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