Rhulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns.Backpagepix.

Mokwena: Al Ahly know Mamelodi Sundowns can hurt them in Caf Champions League

  • Mokwena explained why Al Ahly should be worried
  • Sundowns coach encouraged by last season’s results
  • The Brazilians have claimed back-to-back victories

WHAT HAPPENED? Mokwena pointed to the two teams’ recent meetings when Sundowns recorded twin 1-0 wins, both home and away, last season. It is a testament to the fact that the Brazilians’ quality is a cause for concern for the Egyptian giants.

The Brazilians have also won their last 18 games in all competitions, with their most recent defeat coming in September when they lost 2-1 to SuperSport United, making them the form team ahead of Saturday’s Caf Champions League encounter in Cairo.

Sundowns have started their group campaign on a great note, beating Al-Hilal 1-0 before thrashing Coton Sport of Cameroon 3-1 to take command of Group B with maximum points, while Al Ahly got off to a losing start when they fell 1-0 to the Sudanese giants last weekend.

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While Mokwena respects their quality and experience, especially having just come from the Fifa Club World Cup, he feels they will have plenty to worry about his team.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “They are a team with good international experience,” Mokwena said as quoted by iDiski Times.

“The feeling of going to a Club World Cup and playing against Flamengo, Seattle Sounders and even Real Madrid, but they know we’re a team that beat them twice last season – we beat them home and away, they know. So, they will come with a lot of respect for us, just as we have for them.

“What happened in the past has very little bearing on this, it’s a big game, with big players and important for both clubs, both sets of players and [an] incredible pitch available, amazing atmosphere created [in Cairo].

“So, the best players play these types of games and enjoy these types of feelings. We know we’ve got to be at our best to have a chance to win.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sundowns are looking to win the Champions League since their last triumph in 2016 with Mokwena’s charges criticised for dominating the PSL but failing on the continent despite spending big in the transfer market.

While they have started the 2022-23 group phase well, they will be wary of lightning striking twice after falling at the quarter-final stage last year despite finishing top of their group.

WHAT’S NEXT? Al Ahly host Sundowns at Cairo’s Al-Salam Stadium on Saturday, seeking to get their continental campaign back on track.