In a clash of the powerhouses of African club football this weekend, Mamelodi Sundowns will take on TP Mazembe in a CAF Champions League group encounter in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday.
The game is potentially seen as Patrice Motsepe’s last game as Sundowns president in a Group B fixture that pits the business magnate against his good friend and fellow billionaire Moïse Katumbi.
Motsepe is vying to be the next CAF president at the upcoming elections next Friday.
The South African mining mogul will be forced to relinquish his role at Sundowns should he win the election in Rabat, Morocco. Motsepe revealed at his manifesto launch last week that his eldest son, Tlhopie, would take over.
Meanwhile, out of the five meetings with Mazembe, the Brazilians have won three and lost two.
The two giants last played each other in the 2016 CAF Super Cup final, which Sundowns won by a solitary goal from defender Ricardo Nascimento.
Sundowns touched down in Lubumbashi on Thursday and the team has already conducted training sessions ahead of Saturday’s game.
“The travelling was OK as we had an early flight to Lubumbashi. The environment, with regards to the weather, has been suitable for us as it is overcast with some showers. We expected very hot conditions, but it is good for us and we are going to put in the work at training,” coach Rhulani Mokwena told the club’s official website.
“They are a very interesting team and a very good team. Defensively, they are strong. We watched the last three games they played and from what we saw we know the formation they play. We just want to make sure we are ready for a team that has complex personalities. They can be very aggressive as they like to push their wingers and full-backs very high, but they can also be conservative as they can sit in a block and play on counter-attacks. It will be interesting to see what personalities they will adopt as they need the three points”.
In another Champions League group fixture involving a South African club, things could go from bad to worse for Kaizer Chiefs as they face 15-time Angolan league winners Petro de Luanda on Saturday.
The teams will do battle in a Group C clash at FNB Stadium (6pm).
Chiefs were hammered 4-0 in their previous game in the competition by Wydad Athletic in a match that was staged at a neutral Tanzania due strict Covid-19 travel restrictions in Morocco.
Amakhosi are on an eight-match winless run in all competitions. Their last win came three months ago, a 3-0 victory in January against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
“Obviously it has been disappointing how our season is going. We as players are also pained by the way things are going. Luck has not been on our side. We just need to get a good run to bring the positivity back,” Manyama said.
“It’s been an up-and-down season. It’s easy to play every three days. The season is far from over and there is still a lot to play for.”
Manyama conceded that Wydad were simply too strong for them in their last outing.
“We knew Wydad from seeing them play Sundowns over the years. We knew they are a strong team and they are very experienced. We gifted the opening two goals and they had the better of us. It was a good learning experience for us,” he said.
“We still have four games to go. I believe we still stand a very good chance. If we can win our two remaining home games and get full points in one of the away games then we can do it.”