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Mamelodi Sundowns

Lovers Mohlala: Sundowns were not comfortable playing on an artificial surface against Lobi Stars

12:06 am AEDT 13/1/19
Mamelodi Sundowns, December 2018
The ex-Masandawana legend has backed the reigning Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions to bounce back in their continental campaign

Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Lovers Mohlala believes the Brazilians' loss to Lobi Stars on Friday was due to mind games and the fact that they were forced to play on an artificial pitch.

Mohlala says the 2016 African champions could not play their normal game as they were edged 2-1 in their opening Caf Champions League opening group stage match in Nigeria on Friday evening.

“You see it was difficult for Sundowns to play on an artificial pitch and Lobi Stars knew they had to unsettle Sundowns by employing mind games,” Mohlala told Goal.

“It was not a bad result though because there are so many games to play. I think they were not comfortable playing on that pitch,” he said.

“I am sure Sundowns were hoping to play on a normal grass surface, but still they tried because of that goal they scored, and conceding two is not bad. We all know that that mind games come into play in Africa and what can we do?"

“I also believe as Africans we are still behind when it comes to football standards. In Europe, the artificial is used for children, but we are playing on artificial (grass) on the continent – so these are some of the contributing factors which led to Sundowns' loss,” responded the ex-Bafana Bafana international.

On the other hand, the former Wits University left-back insists coach Pitso Mosimane’s men have what it takes to beat Wydad Casablanca in their next Group B match at home.

“Sundowns must continue where they left off and they have to beat Wydad in their next match before putting themselves under pressure,” he continued.

“I think if they get two wins at home and at least one win and a draw away, it will help them qualify for the knockout stages,” said the former Jomo Cosmos player.

“It will not be easy to be honest, but they have the quality to do well. They showed quality in the second half by pushing for an equalizer,” admitted Mohlala.

“However, refereeing also needs to improve in Africa. You see a push is given as a penalty sometimes, but in Europe, it will not. So you wonder if all the referees are applying the same Fifa laws or not,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the Tshwane giants will now turn their focus to the PSL where they will face Maritzburg United next week at home.