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CAF Champions League

Mokwena opens up on Mamelodi Sundowns 'working around the clock' for Al Ahly

4:06 PM MYT 13/12/2022
Rhulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena says they have not wasted time in gathering information on Caf Champions League opponents Al Ahly.
  • Sundowns learnt about their Champions League opponents on Monday
  • They will again face Al Ahly in the group stage
  • Coach Mokwena reacts to the draw

WHAT HAPPENED? The Champions League draw was held on Monday and Sundowns were drawn in Group B with Al Ahly, Sudanese giants Al Hilal Omdurman and Cameroonian champions Cotonsport Garoua. A few hours after the draw, Mokwena said they had already watched videos of Al Ahly, analysing the Cairo giants who are regarded as their biggest threat in this pool. The Masandawana tactician stresses on their analysts “working around the clock” researching Al Ahly.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It's always difficult to travel to Cairo. We know that,” Mokwena told Sundowns' media department. “Al Ahly are always difficult to play against away from home, not just the environment and the hostility around travelling to Cairo and playing in their own backyard, but they've changed the coaches and also made a lot of improvements to the squad so technically it's going to be a bit different.

“We've already seen a couple of their games but now we have to zoom in, and zoom in with a little bit more of a technical focus and already we have our analysts working around the clock to get as much information as we possibly can.

“The personality they adopt in their home and away matches is completely different, a different approach, but it will be a very interesting game, for sure, against two teams. who know each other very well and who have enough quality to compete against each other.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: In recent seasons, Sundowns have been impressive in the Champions League group stage, usually reaching the knockout rounds with games to spare. But they have always found the knockouts tough as they bid for their first Champions League crown since 2016. This time around, the Brazilians would be pushing to translate group-stage top performances into title-winning displays.

STORY IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR SUNDOWNS? Before they begin their Champions League group campaign away at Al Hilal in February, Masandawana will be focusing on Premier Soccer League business. They host Orlando Pirates on December 30 in their next assignment.