Absa Premiership

Sundowns gear up for Wydad clash

2017-09-22 19:45
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo)

Cape Town - Key forwards Khama Billiat and Anthony Laffor remain doubtful starters for Mamelodi Sundowns' CAF Champions League quarter-final decider against Wydad Casablanca on Saturday.

Defending champiions Sundowns head into the second leg tie at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat with a 1-0 first leg advantage, thanks to Yannick Zakri's goal 20 minutes from time.

Billiat, probably one of Sundowns' most influential stars in last year's Champions League triumph, has played only once this season, while Laffor has been out of action for two weeks after limping off against Free State Stars.

Head coach Pitso Mosimane is however hopeful that the pair could feature in Morocco on Saturday, although he was not overly convincing in his assessment.

"Hopefully Khama is back and Anthony. If I don't get them, then maybe I will bring Thapelo (Morena) as a winger. I will make a plan for the speed because I know that (Wydad) defence is a little bit slow. So we have to consolidate and put the balls behind," he told KickOff website.

Should Morena switch from full-back to wing, Mosimane will draft Bafana Bafana international Anele Ngcongca into the right-back slot.

Former Bafana coach Mosimane claims his men's experience in Africa will enable them to handle the intimidating tactics faced in North Africa, which have already seen his side battling to secure a training pitch in Morocco in the lead up to the game.

"We have the experience, to be honest. We are not going to be intimidated. It can never be bigger than in Alexandria [against] Zamalek. That's the ultimate full house.

"Imagine saying we are worried about being intimidated. We have been to Setif [in Tunisia] and you know what happened there. They (the supporters) go inside the pitch."

The Pretoria club also issued a statement on their website condemning the treatment they have received.

"The gamesmanship has been relentless from Moroccon champions Wydad Cassablanca ahead of Saturday's crucial quarter final second leg Confederation of African Football Champions League at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, in Rabat.

"From not providing the African champions with a training ground, to giving them a rickety bus compared to the luxury air conditioned bus they used in South Africa ahead of the first-leg, to not providing them with escorts, Wydad have thrown the book of mind games at Sundowns.

"CAF rules state categorically that a playing ground will be provided for training of a visiting team and be put at their disposal for all their stay and at all times. In addition the venue of the game has to be made available for one training session the day before the match.

"The Moroccans may be sanctioned if found guilty of (non) compliance by CAF.

"Yet, coach Pitso Mosimane expected this. They expect a hostile crowd, and hostile actions on the pitch, but soccer pundits believe that these actions may yet spell their downfall. 

"They have clearly taken their eye off the ball, and that should provide Sundowns, who will be in a better frame of mind, the chance to make the early breakthrough to grab a crucial away goal."

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  soccer

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