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Downs focused on Al-Ahly

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Arendse had been a saviour for Sundowns in a few Champions League matches. But he has not done it in the typical flashy way of stealing the show

ONE GOAL IN MIND: Wayne Arendse of Mamelodi Sundowns is fully aware that coming back from Egypt with a result is going to take a massive effort from the Brazilians. Picture: Muzi Ntombela BackpagePix

THE PREMIER Soccer League’s Disciplinary Committee will tonight probably decide on the punishment for Mamelodi Sundowns after the Brazilians were found guilty of using an ineligible Wayne Arendse in a match against Bidvest Wits.

Not that Arendse will be too worried. As it is, his mind and body will be far removed from the professional league’s Parktown head offices.

The Brazilians defender will be a few thousand kilometres away in Alexandria, Egypt ready to put on the superhero cape he has donned on so many occasions to deliver success for Pitso Mosimane’s team in their second leg, quarter-final CAF Champions League clash with Al-Ahly.

Arendse had been a saviour for Sundowns in a few Champions League matches. But he has not done it in the typical flashy way of stealing the show.

All he has done is be at the right place at the right time whenever Sundowns have needed him.

It was because of this ‘saviour’ quality Arendse possesses that the Absa Premiership champions got into trouble with the league.

Mosimane and his technical team erroneously put Arendse in the starting XI against Bidvest Wits in October last year after Thapelo Morena was injured during warm-up. Arendse wasn’t on the matchday 18, and any changes to the starting XI after the provisional team sheet has been submitted should be made with players on that team sheet.

The punishment for that error though will be the least of Arendse’s worries. He will be playing in Alexandria for the first time in this competition having missed out in the second leg of the 2016 Champions League final against Zamalek because he was suspended.

“I played against Zamalek at home, when we beat them 3-0,” Arendse said. “The atmosphere that day was just something else. It was similar to the game against Al-Ahly. The stadium was packed and that makes a huge difference.

“For me, playing against Al-Ahly brings out the best in me as well as from the other players because you know the quality that they have in that team.”

Arendse continued: “They have eight or nine international players. It just brings out that extra motivation from you. If you want to win the Champions League, you need to play against these teams.”

Even though the Brazilians carry a 5-0 advantage from the first leg, they are wary of Al-Ahly’s attacking threat. If there’s a team that is capable of overturning this score, it’s CAF’s Club of the Century. Al-Ahly’s administrators are doing all they could to help their team. They moved the game from Suez to Alexandria and asked the Interior Minister to allow fans into the venue with intentions of selling tickets for as little as just over R8.

“Al-Ahly have done this before, they came back from 4-0 down to win the tie,” Arendse warned.