‘All the best, Downs’

2016-12-08 11:22
Mamelodi Sundowns national supporters’ club co-ordinator Patric Moela has said about 140 local fans will support the team in Japan.

Mamelodi Sundowns national supporters’ club co-ordinator Patric Moela has said about 140 local fans will support the team in Japan. (Gallo Images)

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Mamelodi Sundowns supporters have wished the team well on their journey to compete at the 2016 Fifa Club World Cup in Japan alongside the likes of European giants Real Madrid.

The tournament will kick off today with Japanese J-League winners Kashima Antlers taking on Auckland City at the International Stadium in Yokohama at 12.30 pm (South African time).

The African champions, who flew out of Johannesburg on Monday, are one of three sides making their first appearance at the event following their CAF Champions League triumph against Zamalek in Egypt in October.

The side’s national supporters’ club co-ordinator, Patric Moela, confirmed to The Witness that about 140 fans will leave for Japan on Friday.

“We wish the team well. We know our boys can make us proud as they have been doing. We are behind them. We cannot wait to depart for Japan tomorrow to watch them play. We are spoiled for choice. So, we’re happy with the team selection. They didn’t get there by mistake. It took hard work and resilience.

“… The competition will be tight. Playing Real Madrid is every team’s dream,” Moela said.

The competition features champions from South Africa, Korea, Mexico, Colombia, New Zealand, Spain and Japan — the country hosting the event — and will be staged at two venues — the Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka and the International Stadium in Yokohama.

With the event not televised, Moela said several fan parks and public viewing areas would open across the country during the competition.

“There’s a company that’s organised fan parks across the country, including KZN. So South Africans and Sundowns fans will be able to watch the games. Everyone is welcome, at no charge. We appreciate the support we have been receiving from PSL teams and their fans. They came and filled the stadium when we played a final against Zamalek.”

Pitso Mosimane’s charges are also the first South African side to participate in the competition, and are expected to begin their campaign in the quarter-finals on Sunday at 12.30 am (SA time) against the winner of the event’s opener.

The winner of that encounter will then face off against Colombian side Copa Libertadores, winners against Atletico Nacional in Osaka, to advance to the final played on December 18.

The club’s attacking trio of Anthony Laffor, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly has been included in the 23-man squad, with Sibusiso Vilakazi and Percy Tau also making the cut.

Here is the Mamelodi Sundowns squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene, Wayne Sandilands.

Defenders: Thabo Nthete, Tebogo Langerman, Asavela Mbekile, Wayne Arendse, Thapelo Morena, Mzikayise Mashaba, Siyanda Zwane, Soumahoro Bangaly and Ricardo Nascimento

Midfielders: Keagan Dolly, Hlompho Kekana, Teko Modise, Tiyani Mabunda, Anthony Laffor, Lucky Mohomi, Themba Zwane, Sibusio Vilakazi, Percy Tau and Khama Billiat.

Read more on:    soccer  |  pietermaritzburg  |  mamelodi sundowns

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