Roger de Sa has warned Mamelodi Sundowns not to think that because they have beaten Zamalek twice already in this year’s African Champions League‚ Downs are going to be able to easily romp through the two legs of the final.
“It’s one thing to do it in the group stage and another to do it in the final‚” said the Ajax Cape Town coach on the eve of the first leg of the final at Atteridgeville on Saturday.
Sundowns beat Zamalek 2-1 away in Cairo and 1-0 at home in July and are the favourites to lift the African crown.
But De Sa‚ who was coach when Orlando Pirates lost to another Egyptian club‚ Al Ahly‚ in the 2013 final‚ warned the task for Downs is not as simple as it would seem.
“We beat Ahly in the group stage but they were a different outfit for the finals. These Egyptian sides know how to play the big matches‚” De Sa said.
“My advice is firstly do not concede at home. We gave away a silly goal to Ahly that cost us the Champions League.
“Our first leg ended 1-1 and then to have to go away to Egypt in the second leg and get a win was near impossible. It is best for Sundowns to take something with them‚ like a lead‚ to Egypt.”
De Sa said he felt Sundowns had a much stronger squad than his Pirates team of three years ago.
“I think they’ve prepared very well. And they are playing a Zamalek side who are not as good as they have been in the past when we met them.”
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has consulted with De Sa at times during the year‚ taking advice on travel around the African continent based on Pirates’ experience‚ and De Sa said he is eager for Sundowns to win.
“I think a success for a South African club side will be massive for the game and it will ultimately be reflected in the success of the national team too.”
Saturday’s first leg of the final is followed by return game in Alexandria on Sunday‚ October 23.
– TMG Sport