Pitso Mosimane ponders his starting line-up against Al Ahly
Wary coach has several players facing late fitness tests as Sundowns prepare for the formidable Egyptian team
Mamelodi Sundowns left for Cairo on Monday night with coach Pitso Mosimane unsure of his starting line-up and wary of a formidable test that awaits as they face Al Ahly in the quarterfinals of the African Champions League.
He will have to wait through the week before being able to settle on his back four for Saturday’s first-leg tie at the Cairo International Stadium as several players face late fitness tests.
But Mosimane has revealed his approach‚ saying he will rely heavily on his wingbacks, with the emphasis on containment rather than expansion.
The back five positions are still all up for grabs as the team was due to fly overnight‚ directly to the Egyptian capital.
Goalkeeper Denis Onyango still “has that dodgy hamstring”, according to Mosimane‚ which means Kennedy Mweene is also in the picture to play and centreback Ricardo Nascimento has a slight groin strain. “It’s not that serious but we are being careful about that‚” said the coach
Musa Lebusa got a bad bump near the end of the midweek win over Bloemfontein Celtic and suffered a bruised hip but is likely to play left-back as Tebogo Langerman is still working his way back from injury.
Motjeka Madisha is likely be the right-back after Thapelo Morena’s injury and the suspension of Anele Ngcongca.
“It’s not going to be Nico [Nicholas Lukhubeni]‚ he’s still too young. He gave away the penalty [against VUT in the Nedbank Cup on Sunday]. It was a bit naive‚” said the coach.
Wayne Arendse is likely to be the other centreback‚ adding much needed height for the aerial contests.
“We will need to be organised and they will look to push us into our own half of the field‚ but hopefully we can use our speed behind them. Unfortunately we’ll miss Thapelo’s speed.
“We need to absorb the pressure‚ we need to be mentally strong and we need to be well organised. It’s a game where the tactics and the mind will be key‚” Mosimane added.