Masandawana go into the clash having earned a valuable three points away in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sundowns’ assistant coach Rhulani Mokoena has stated that victory in Tshwane is just as crucial as they look to move into pole position in their group.
“It’s very important that we win this match,” Mokoena told The Star.
“We didn’t do that when we hosted Saint George in our first group game. But, we managed to bounce back in our match against AS Vita. And that’s the beauty about working with experienced players.
“You can set specific targets on which matches are a must win for you guys, and which matches you should fight to avoid a defeat and settle for a draw. We went to Kinshasa with the hope of coming back with a positive result and we did that by producing maximum points there.
“Our focus is now set on pushing for a similar result against Esperance in this tie,” Mokoena added.
“A win would see us standing on seven points before we travel to Tunisia for our second leg meeting against them there and we want that,” Mokoena continued.
“We want to progress to the next round of this competition,” Mokoena expressed.
Mokoena also added that several key players are likely to miss the encounter through injury but remains positive that the Brazilians can grind out a result.
“However, this is a team which knows how to grind out results when it is expected of them,” Mokoena said.
“We’ve got internationals in this squad and they know how to handle this type of pressure. We’ve been here before and we are led by a coach (Pitso Mosimane) who is motivated and hungry to achieve success on the continent for this club.
“And that’s what drives us as a team. That’s what pushes us (the technical staff) and these players to perform. They know the responsibility which rests on their shoulders and they also know that they always have the backing of their chairman to aspire to excel on the continent as well,” Mokoena concluded.