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Game On: No Rest for Jingles and his Weary Men

While other teams are winding down for the Absa Premiership off-season break, there won’t be any rest for Caf Champions League champs Mamel...

While other teams are winding down for the Absa Premiership off-season break, there won’t be any rest for Caf Champions League champs Mamelodi Sundowns.

South Africa's Absa Premiership season ended on Saturday but the Brazilians’ season in Africa continues. Head coach Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane and his team face having no pre-season for a second season running.

Downs concluded their league season with a 2-2 draw with Highlands Park at the Makhulong Stadium at the weekend. They host Tunisian giants Esperance in a Caf Champions’ League Group C encounter at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Friday (8pm).
Game on for Sundowns After the Conclusion of the Absa League

Downs recorded a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa last week to get their Caf campaign back on track. They were frustrated by St George of Ethiopia in their opening group match in Tshwane, which ended 0-0.

Mosimane, who has injury problems with stars such as Hlompho Kekana, Khama Billiat, Anthony Laffor, Soumahoro Bangaly, Tiyani Mabunda and Ricardo Nascimento, said their game against the North Africans was another must-win affair. 

Despite missing so many players for the big game, Mosimane expects his side to come out firing on all cylinders to take control of the group.

Sundowns finished second in the Premiership with 57 points, three points behind champions Bidvest Wits. They pushed Wits all the way despite their hectic schedule and only surrendered their title with two rounds of matches remaining.

Mosimane said: “We have been travelling and have been everywhere while everyone was resting. We ran this race alone and that has been the problem – it affected us in the title race. Our season can’t be compared with anyone else’s, we have truly had it tough.

“And now the season has ended, where are the other teams? They are resting, while we continue to push in Africa. Some people will be playing golf and taking selfies on the beach as our tough season continues.

“There will be no pre-season for us, instead we will be worrying about qualifying for the Caf knockout stages.”

Downs have won the Champions League and the Caf Super Cup. They also represented Africa at the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan. Mosimane emphasised the importance of beating Esperance to top the group.

“We need the three points against Esperance to take charge of the group. We have to be smart in this group.” - Daily Sun

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