‘It's not over’: Sundowns coach Mokwena as they host CR Belouizdad in Champions League second leg

27 April 2023 - 10:00
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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during a press conference ahead of the Champions League clash against CR Belouizdad at Nelson mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algeria on 21 April 2023
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during a press conference ahead of the Champions League clash against CR Belouizdad at Nelson mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algeria on 21 April 2023
Image: Djaffar Lakjal/BackpagePix

Even with a commanding 4-1 lead over CR Belouizdad, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena insists a place in the Champions League semifinal is not yet secured. 

The Brazilians thrashed the Algerians in the first leg at the Nelson Mandela Stadium last weekend to put one foot in the next round but Mokwena says they can’t rest on their laurels because strange things can happen in football. 

To show he is taking the second leg at Loftus on Saturday (3pm) seriously, Mokwena started Tuesday’s 1-0 DStv Premiership win over Richards Bay with key players like Mothobi Mvala, Khuliso Mudau, Aubrey Modiba, Gaston Sirino and Themba Zwane on the bench. 

Only Sirino and Mudau came on from the bench for injured Abubeker Nasir Thapelo Morena respectfully. 

“We have seen crazier things and you don’t have to go too far back in the match between Manchester City against Real Madrid last season. There is always a big chance, this is football,” he said. 

“Football teaches you these lessons and there is no chance for us to get complacent because it is not over. I say this to the players and not only to you, we have done an incredible effort to put ourselves in the position that we are in.” 

Mokwena has asked his players to go out in front of their supporters and finish the job and book a date with the winner of the match between Simba and Wydad Casablanca. 

“Now we just have to go out there and finish it off, we must be sober and do the best that we can do to make sure that the team is in the next round. That is very important for the players, for the supporters and for the football club. 

“We know the magnitude of the responsibility and that’s why we can’t make light of the next 90 minutes. We have to plan against a very good side that we beat in Algeria. 

“We beat a good side that has about four to five Algerian internationals, you can pick whoever you want to play in Europe. They are a team that has got that pedigree and they cannot be taken for granted.” 

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