Home Sport A gift in store for Sundowns after a few close shaves

A gift in store for Sundowns after a few close shaves

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Fortunately, there are players returning from injury while others are back at full fitness after playing off the bench recently.

Gift Motupa is ready to start for Mamelodi Sundowns and his experience will be valuable. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Mamelodi Sundowns will head off into the rough and tumble of African soccer this weekend after emerging unscathed from a series of close shaves in the Premiership where they have kept their unbeaten record intact.

Apart from taking a break from a congested league programme, Sundowns will also have a Nedbank Cup breather after progressing to the last 16 following victory against Stellenbosch FC last weekend.

Sundowns open their Caf Champions League group stage campaign on Saturday against visiting Al-Hilal of Sudan at Loftus. Al-Hilal are two-time Champions League runners-up.

Having to compete on three fronts (league, Nedbank Cup and the Champions League) in a matter of days, there will be great pressure on player reserves. Fortunately, there are players returning from injury while others are back at full fitness after playing off the bench recently.

Ricardo Nascimento and Lyle Lakay have had outings off the bench in recent matches and have shown that they are ready to challenge for places in the starting team.

Denis Onyango and Hlompho Kekana have been kicking their heels on the sidelines while recovering from injury.

Another player who is ready to start is well-travelled midfielder Gift Motupa who has much to offer Sundowns.

“To be honest it was not an easy thing for me to be out and not play for a long time,” said Motupa.

“I kept on pushing myself in order for me to be ready for the right time when I am called upon by the technical team.

“I was happy to be back on the field when I came on in the game against Chippa United, it was great to be back on the field of play.”