Brazilians pin their hopes on fitness of defender Ricardo Nascimento
Coach Pitso Mosimane is crossing his fingers that Nascimento will recover from a hamstring injury in time to travel to North Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is hoping to have key defender Ricardo Nascimento fully fit for their crucial Caf Champions League group clash with Wydad Athletic Club in Morocco on Friday.
Nascimento missed the 2-0 MTN8 win over Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday with a hamstring injury and Mosimane is crossing his fingers that he will recover in time to travel to North Africa.
"I am hoping that Ricardo is back on Friday because he is a brave and intelligent player‚" he said after the Arrows win.
"In Morocco it is going to be a sea of red on the stands and I need players with a strong personality and [who] will be able to grind for a result under those conditions. We have to get there and be composed‚ be clever and keep on probing.
"If we don’t get a win [we must] at least get a point, but we must never park the bus."
They face a seven-hour flight to Ghana on Monday and five hours in transit before arriving in Morocco on Tuesday.
"The challenge is coming back because we have [to play against] Highlands Park two days after our return. Those who are staying behind must do the job for us against Highlands.
"Wydad are highly experienced‚ they know how to manage the game…. We have to be careful on penalties because they are good on set pieces and how to delay play."
Sundowns have kept clean sheets in their last two matches, against Polokwane City and Arrows‚ and Mosimane wants his defence to achieve the same in Morocco.
"It is not going to be easy but hopefully we can do it and enhance our chances of progressing to the next round."
Looking back at the 2-0 win over Arrows after goals from Sibusiso Vilakazi and Wayne Arendse‚ Mosimane said he would like to win the MTN8 tournament as it is the only domestic trophy he has not won since arriving at Chloorkop.
"Whether I am desperate to win this tournament‚ I am not sure, but eager to win it, yes‚" Mosimane said.
"I would like to win this trophy with Sundowns because I have not won it with the club.
"But this competition is always with the Champions League quarterfinal in between [matches]," he said.