Absa Premiership

Sundowns in chock-a-block month

2016-09-04 09:45
Pitso Mosimane. Picture: Gallo Images

Eight is the number! Two MTN8 semifinals. Two CAF Champions League semifinals. Four league matches. A game every three or four days.

This is what awaits Mamelodi Sundowns this month – if the PSL does not alter some of the fixtures.

This is the price clubs pay for taking part in continental competitions.

September is a make-or-break month for Sundowns as they have to juggle three competitions.

The Brazilians have not had any rest by virtue of their CAF Champions League participation.

They start with their marathon fixtures on Sunday when they visit Chippa United in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinals at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Three days later, the defending Absa Premiership champions open their league account against Maritzburg United.

Then they are off to Zambia for the first leg of the Champions League on September 17 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

They host the Zambians a week later at home in the second leg.

But they face Platinum Stars the Wednesday before the return leg.

Downs are also supposed to host Chippa United in the second leg of the MTN8, but the league has not yet scheduled the game.

Adding to that, they have another date with the Chilli Boys in a league game scheduled for September 25 at the same Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Sundowns will end their marathon run against Bloemfontein Celtic at home three days later.

Hopefully, by then, they will be in the finals of the MTN8 and the Champions League.

The Brazilians have already lost striker Leonardo Castro to injury and playing back-to-back matches could compound their troubles.

Sundowns CEO Sizwe Nzimande told City Press that they were engaging with the league to have some of their matches rescheduled.

Nzimande said it would be a challenge to feature in all the matches as they are currently arranged.

“We are hoping that the league will come to our rescue and reschedule some of the matches.

“One match we would really like to shift is the one against Maritzburg as we have to travel to Zambia immediately thereafter. It would be better not to play that match so we could travel in time to Zambia,” said Nzimande.

He is hopeful that they will come to a beneficial arrangement with the league.

If they succeed in rescheduling the Maritzburg game, the Brazilians will start their defence of the league title against Platinum Stars towards the end of this month.

They would have to play catch-up games throughout the season, particularly if they go all the way to the finals of the Champions League and MTN8.


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