However, Sundowns’ preparations for the clash has been marred by a bizarre set of circumstances that saw them forced to play their midweek fixture over two days.
The Brazilians have had to contend with an unbelievably congested fixture schedule that has seen the team virtually living out of their suit cases, a small price to pay for continental success. The technical team have to be truly commended for their man management as they kept the team going continuously. Though, Masandawana are now beginning to feel the effects of the hectic schedule.
Injuries to key players such as Khama Billiat, Anthony Laffor and Denis Onyango has seen Sundowns forced to rely on their depth. To Sundowns credit, the majority of injuries that they have suffered are not muscle related which is a clear indication of the stellar work that the medical stuff is doing.
Sundowns coach Mosimane and his technical team’s understanding of the laws of periodisation has contributed immensely to their success. They currently find themselves two points behind leaders SuperSport United with a host of catch up games still to play. Although, some may argue that these games are not guaranteed victories, on current form, who can stand in Sundowns way?
The best squad in South Africa
A key factor to Mosimane’s success at Sundowns is his ability to rotate the squad but at the same time not compromising on the style of play and quality. Sundowns have arguably the best squad in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), a sentiment shared by many coaches such as Gavin Hunt and Eric Tinkler and this does make rotation easier.
With the defending PSL league champion’s campaign set to only get more arduous with participation in the Nedbank Cup and a return to Caf Champions League action coming up, Mosimane will have to count on his entire squad to play their part.
Ahead of Sundowns game with the Citizens, Mosimane will be buoyed by the return of Anthony Laffor and Anele Ngcongca to training. But the 52-year-old should know better than anyone than to rush the duo back, considering their season ahead. This makes it highly unlikely that they would feature from the start on Friday, after all a league is a marathon and not a sprint.
Mosimane, may only have had one day of preparation for his troops but his team should not experience any signs of fatigue going into the encounter. A fact which Mosimane himself has declared after their goalless draw with Chippa United.
“It can’t affect Friday. It was like a training match. We train all the time in the mornings and regenerate. So, we could maybe train in the morning for 45 minutes, it doesn’t build fatigue. Otherwise we are looking for excuses,” Mosimane said post-match.
While Sundowns go into the encounter within breathing distance of the PSL summit, there is no need for them to get overly excited. The African champions know how to deal with being at the top and if they continue their current form, they will easily claim glory at the end of the season.