Mokwena: We know what’s at stake

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  • Post published:April 16, 2022

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena says his side will come in the Caf Champions League quarter-final first leg against Petro De Luanda with “a lot of confidence”.

Sundowns will do battle with Pedro de Luanda in the Caf Champions League quarter-finals first leg at The Estádio 11 de Novembro on Saturday, with kick-off set for 6pm.

The Brazilians will be looking for a positive result away from home as they come into this fixture high in confidence after hammering Golden Arrows 6-0 in their previous match.

Mokwena has since analysed his opponents in Luanda and will leave no stone unturned when the two sides square off in the first match of the two-legged fixture.

“We are continuing with the journey and that continuation has brought us to Angola to play against a very good side in Pedro. A well-coached side with some very good players, very experienced players like [Ricardo] Job [Estévão], the No 11 [Jarade], the 29 [Adriano Belmiro Duarte Nicolau], Yano, the No 9 up front [who is] very aggressive, a box striker always looking to finish, the defensive midfielder [William da Silva] Soares, the No 5, strong, aggressive and gives impetus to the team together with [Pedro Pessoa Miguel] the No 14.

“A strong team, [they are] a very good opponent that plays the game the way we believe football should be played and in a certain way that has a very similar identity to us. They build from the back, they look to press from the top and they also look to dominate the game and have possession. We know what’s at stake and what lies ahead. Ours is now to put the final preparations [in place] and be a bit more specific in our fine-tuning of our schemes to be able to give ourselves the chance to be in South Africa in the second leg with a chance to progress to the semi-finals.

“The good thing from a psychological perspective is that we come from two very good results where we scored a lot of goals, and in particular the game against Golden Arrows; [it] was a good demonstration of how much work we’ve put in from the beginning of the season up until now. [Therefore] from that perspective we come into this game with a lot of confidence, the players understand that we are in a part of the season where every single match counts now, these are what we call ‘games of consequence’.

“We are a team that’s shown resilience and the ability to stick together in difficult moments, and we know that quarter-finals against very good teams – like a team like Pedro, there are going to be some difficult moments on Saturday, and ours is to make sure that we are ready to be resilient and to soldier on and fight through for the badge, for our supporters, and try to represent them as best as we can. From a physical perspective, we did a lot of work already from regenerating the team. Fortunately, the flight was only three-and-a-half hours, so there’s very little accumulation of fatigue in relation to travelling.”