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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

‘Burdens and blessings are cousins’: Komphela on Sundowns schedule

"Their (Sundowns) schedule is too heavy and they will feel the pinch," says Komphela.

Perhaps, Moroka Swallows coach Steve Komphela is more equipped than any other DStv Premiership coach to offer insight on how to stop Mamelodi Sundowns from running away with the league again this season.

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Having to play in four different competitions, Sundowns’ resolve will be tested, starting with a tricky assignment against TS Galaxy in the last 16 round of the Telkom knockout tonight (Wednesday).

That will be followed by a trip to Angola for the clash against Petro de Luanda in the newly formed African Football League.

The Caf Champions League will kick-off at the end of November while The Brazilians are also looking to defend their domestic league title.

Komphela spent three seasons with Sundowns as an assistant coach to Rulani Mokwena. He has issued a rallying cry to other PSL rivals to be ready to pounce if the star-studded champions show any form of fatigue.

“When I look at Mamelodi Sundowns as someone from outside who is aggressively looking to get better and above Sundowns,” Komphela said to the media at the PSL’s Parktown headquarters on Wednesday.

“Then you have the thinking that it serves us well in the PSL. Their (Sundowns) schedule is too heavy and they will feel the pinch. They will be tired and it becomes the responsibility of whichever team in the PSL that is ready to stay fresh, compete and win, then they will have a chance.

“The busy schedule maybe a challenge to them but they know how to periodise with top professionals. But someone back in South Africa who is busy training and resting while waiting to play, stands a better chance. Those who have done a bit of data analysis and audit, when you look at Mamelodi Sundowns and who was likely to be next in line if they don’t become champions, that particular club stands a better chance to plan properly to say I wonder if they will play 50 matches without showing any signs of fatigue.

“If they come back into the premiership and show any signs of fatigue then we have to take the three points and get closer. It will be very interesting but I feel for the tehcnical team at Sundowns but as I said burdens and blessings are cousins.”

Komphela sympathised with his former employers as they gear up for a grueling schedule where their depth and squad rotation will be tested.

“The schedule is going to be crazy, it’s the African Football League, the Champions League, the league and also Cup competitions and at the back of that schedule you are going to be traveling. You know how difficult it is to be traveling on the continent,” said Komphela.

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“Yes, it’s true there’s depth in their squad but there’s also chemistry and as soon as you change two or three players, it does reflect in the performance and the group dynamics so it’s going to be a bit difficult.

“But I think burdens and blessings are cousins and the fact that Sundowns are blessed to have so much quality and they are (playing) on the continent. Those blessings become a burden in terms of how do you mitigate them. One thing we thought of was that fatigue is not only physical but also mental.

Swallows are away to Richards Bay in the Telkom knockout on Sunday looking to avenge last month’s narrow 1-0 loss to the Natal Rich Boyz in a league match.

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