Our writer previews the second leg CAF Champions League tie between Mamelodi Sundowns and Zesco United.
Onto the second leg, where Mamelodi Sundowns will host ZESCO United in the CAF Champions League after a 2-1 defeat in Zambia. Despite the loss, Pitso Mosimane’s charges will be ready for the task at hand, knowing that they will have the opportunity to make it to the final in front of their home supporters.
The man that Sundowns can put their faith in, Khama Billiat, stepped up to the occasion and gave the Chloorkop-based outfit something to smile about with an all-important away goal. There’s more to Downs than just Billiat, though, and they will be ready to come guns blazing when ZESCO come to town. Who will come out on top in this semi-final humdinger? The Brazilians know the importance of this fixture and should do all they can for victory…The Sky is the Limit.
CAF Champions League | Saturday 24 September | Lucas Moripe Stadium | 19:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Mamelodi Sundowns 15/20 | Draw 5/2 | ZESCO United 34/10
Despite losing to ZESCO United last weekend, Pitso Mosimane believes his side are learning invaluable lessons in the CAF Champions League. The Chloorkop-based team were condemned to a 2-1 defeat against the Zambian champions in the Champions League last Saturday, but Mosimane is adamant that all is not lost ahead of their crucial second-leg encounter against ZESCO.
“We’re growing as a team. It’s understanding continental football. We are maturing and becoming a little bit more experienced.”
This could be a defining week for Sundowns, who have a date with destiny on Saturday with a place in the CAF Champions League final up for grabs. Downs have down well so far to even make it this far in the tournament. Leonardo Castro is still out with an injury, but as expected, Percy Tau filled the void. Players like Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly and Hlompo Kekana will need to be at their very best, after seeing what ZESCO are capable of.
The main objective for Pitso and his side is not to concede. A 1-0 scoreline will do for Downs. The back five responsible for that, will be Siyanda Zwane, Thabo Nthethe, Wayne Arendse and Tebogo Langerman, not to mention Denis Onyango in goal.
Mosimane is likely to rest his players once more in midweek with their second leg of the MTN8 taking place on Wednesday against Chippa United. However, Billiat is confident that Sundowns will come unscathed in this testing week.
“We are fighters. We were born to fight. We will fight all the way. Anything in front of us, we take that battle head on,” said the Zimbabwean.
Billiat has been an integral figure in Sundowns’ march to become one of the four best teams in the continent, while he also helped Zimbabwe become one of the 16 nations that will play in the Africa Cup of Nations next year. Downs will need him at his best once more when they host ZESCO in Tshwane this weekend.