Mamelodi Sundowns will miss Keagan Dolly when they start their CAF Champions League defence on Friday against Kampala City Council Authority, coach Pitso Mosimane said.
Mosimane’s concerns are understandable as Sundowns have struggled in front of goal‚ breaking their two-match goal drought with a 2-0 win over minnows Mariveni United in their Nedbank Cup last 32 clash at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Monday evening.
“I’m not saying we can’t play without Keagan Dolly‚” he said.
“We’ve played many games without him but we just don’t have that balance we used to have on the left. I really missed him there against Cape Town City because he knows how to play inside and outside.
“We’ve been playing Themba Zwane, who has been cutting inside with his right foot.
“Dolly’s absence has made us change the way we play a bit on the left and we’ve had to use Percy Tau.
“But it’s been a problem when Percy is facing the goalkeeper because of us using him as a nine or a 10. We need to get a left-footed player in the next transfer window to fill that gap.”
Sundowns were held to a goalless draw by Chippa United in a two-day game last week and lost 1-0 to Cape Town City on Friday evening.
They will also be without Denis Onyango and Khama Billiat‚ who are still nursing injuries, while Wayne Arendse will be suspended after collecting six yellow cards.
The suspension did not apply for the CAF Super Cup game against TP Mazembe.
Mosimane admitted their title defence was not going to be easy because they have lost their element of surprise.
But he said his team would not be short of motivation after last year’s exploits‚ where they made the most of their backdoor entry due to the expulsion of Congolese side AS Vita to go on and win the tournament.
“Everybody will prepare better and last year we were a closed book and no one knew us.
“Everyone was talking about the backdoor entry and the fact we were the underdogs.
“But everybody knows about us now‚ especially after beating Mazembe, and teams are going to prepare better for us.
“You know the team we’re facing on Friday will be parking the bus.
“We were beaten by a counterattack game on Friday so we have to score. The only thing we can do now is to rotate the team and make sure they enjoy taking part in the Champions League.
“When you play in the Champions League‚ you get a chance to play for Bafana Bafana.
“I always ask the players whether is there something to gain by playing overseas in league football or whether they stay with us and play top club football with us.
“There’s a lot to be achieved.”