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Sundowns charter plane to avoid tricky trip into the heart of the Congo

06 August 2019 - 11:53 By Mark Gleeson
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane arrives at the stadium.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane arrives at the stadium.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns are chartering a plane to take them into the heart of the Congo later this week as they prepare to begin a bid to add another Caf Champions League star to their badge.

It will cost hundreds of thousands of Rands but there is little alternative if Sundowns are to avoid a bone-jarring‚ energy-sapping and mentally frustrating journey to Owando‚ which lies on the Kouyou River right in the middle of the country.

It is there that they will meet AS Otoho d’Oyo in the first leg of their first round tie as the new competition gets underway this weekend.

The domestic league champions will leave late on Thursday‚ stopping first in the capital Brazzaville to clear customs and then fly another 500km north to Oyo‚ where they will stay.

On Saturday‚ they will go by bus to Owando‚ a trip of some 30 minutes to train at the match venue‚ which is their right exactly 24 hours before the game‚ and then again to the Stade Omnisport Marien Ngouabi on Sunday‚ where the game kicks off at 15h30 South African time.

Sundowns’ technical director Trott Moloto left on Monday already to check on arrangements‚ including the hotel where the team will stay and the pitch where they will train at Oyo.

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Sundowns‚ who won the Champions League in 2016 and were semifinalists last season‚ will fly back directly after the game because there is a short turnaround time before they travel to Port Elizabeth to take on Chippa United on Wednesday‚ August 14.

The players will likely get Monday off‚ train again on Tuesday before flying for the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.