Mamelodi Sundowns have a selection dilemma as they approach their season-opening league game against Maritzburg United tomorrow.
The Premier Soccer League surprisingly decided against postponing Sundowns’ away league match against United ahead of the Brazilians’ weekend trip to Zambia for the first leg of the Champions League semifinals against Zesco United in Ndola.
The PSL’s decision has put Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane in a tight spot and he now has to also cast an eye ahead to three successive cup semifinal ties – African Champions League and MTN8 – over the next fortnight.
Mosimane‚ who prefers consistent team selection‚ suggested that rotation might now be the order of the day for a club who have only previously changed their starting lineup through injury or loss of form.
“You should feel sorry for us. This game took out a lot of energy from us‚” Mosimane said after the goalless draw against Chippa United in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinal in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
“Now you understand the challenge.
“[Champions League semifinal opponents] Zesco play like Chippa also‚ so I’ll try to rotate the team.
“My challenge is that I didn’t have a pre-season to try to gel the new players into our ways.
“Thapelo Morena‚ for example‚ has trained only twice with us.
“But I used a few of the players who are not registered for the Champions League against Chippa. “It was good to give Lucky Mohomo‚ [Yannick] Zakri and Thapelo [Morena] some game time.
“The subs I used [against Chippa] were with one eye on the Wednesday and Saturday matches.
“These guys are not in the Champions League‚ so let them play.”
Also not registered is Brazil-born centre back Ricardo Nascimento‚ who will then likely keep his place in defence for the game at the Harry Gwala Stadium against Maritzburg tomorrow.
“But I will have to save Tebego Langerman. He played two 90-minute games for Bafana Bafana and he hardly came forward.”
After tomorrow’s game in Maritzburg‚ Sundowns play in Zambia on Saturday afternoon.
They return home to host Chippa in the second leg of the MTN8 semifinal on September 21 and then host Zesco in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal at Atteridgeville on September 24. – TMG Digital