'Life of a professional footballer': Sundowns cancel Christmas
Christmas has effectively been cancelled for Mamelodi Sundowns, whose quest to win the top title in Africa this year means they will be playing while the rest of the country is off on holiday.
Sundowns, who are in Durban for Saturday’s Telkom Knockout final against Maritzburg United at Moses Mabhida Stadium, will have no festive break this year as they play in the Caf Champions League in Algeria on December 28.
Sundowns will leave OR Tambo International Airport on December 23, and will arrive in Algeria only on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day will essentially be set aside for rest, recuperation and minimal training before they play their third game of the group phase against USM Alger.
There is no possibility to leave later, say after Christmas, as it is some 18 hours travel to get to Algeria – first flying overnight to Paris and then connecting to Algeria from the French capital.
“What can you do? It’s the life of a professional footballer,” said coach Pitso Mosimane.
They will return the same way, arriving home on December 30, and then have little turnaround time before they play AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida on January 4.
By then, Sundowns’ squad are likely to be sick of the sight of one another plus hotel living.
Having just arrived back from Morocco on Monday, the team are already on the road again in an extended trip to Durban.
After beating Stellenbosch at home on Wednesday night, they flew on Thursday to Durban for Saturday’s final, and then stay on because they meet Bidvest Wits in the league at Moses Mabhida on Tuesday.
They are away on this trip for six nights and then when they go to Algeria, will be away for another seven days.