Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
13 Oct 2021
1:06 pm

Bad training facilities stalls Sundowns’ departure to Congo

Ntokozo Gumede

'We manipulated the program where we would normally travel three or four days prior,' said head coach Rulani Mokena.

Mamelodi Sundowns will kickoff their CAF Champions League campaign against AS Maniema in Congo on Sunday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns are operating in cruise mood ahead of their Champions League tie, simply choosing to do all of their preparations at the comfort of their Chloorkop base than jetting out ahead of time to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they will face AS Maniema in the group stage qualifying round.

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Downs usually travel in advance but this time around the technical team decided otherwise because of the conditions in the central African county. Sundowns co-head coach, Rulani Mokwena says a team of Sundowns analysts are already in Kinshasa.

“We already have people there and Goolam Valodia (performance analyst) leads the traveling party. But this is a country that we have experience of going to although it is a different city this time around but we are very familiar with the terrain and the environment,” said Mokwena right after he and Manqoba Mngqithi received the DStv Coach of the Month accolade for the month of August.

“We manipulated what would be a certain program for us because we would normally travel three or four days prior to the match but this time we will leave a bit closer to the encounter because of some of the situations we know and face in relation to the level of proper training facilities.

“We will complete our preparations here and then go there to acclimatize ourselves with the stadium and get a feel of the pitch,” said Mokwena, who went on to reveal that the technical team is busy crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s ahead of the tie on Sunday.   

“We have already started working on the opposition and we know that they play a 4-2-3-1 formation and we know their profile and personality that they have. Their attack is direct with very aggressive overlapping full-backs and they have very quick strikers.

“But the work has been done, we have to be wary of their transitions and their set-pieces. The good thing is that we still have more days to work on these things and make sure we are as prepared as possible because we have a responsibility not just to Sundowns but to the country as well.”