Masandawana will be keen to book their place in the Caf Champions League group stages when they take on the Rwandan champions on Sunday
Mamelodi Sundowns will look to cement their passage into the group stages of the Caf Champions League on Sunday evening.
Masandawana welcome Rwandan champions Rayon Sports to Loftus Versfeld Stadium with everything still to play for following their goalless draw in the first leg. The Tshwane-based outfit are currently involved on three separate fronts, but they will be determined to keep their aspirations of reclaiming the continental crown alive.
Nonetheless, Sundowns’ chances of progression will be boosted by the return of coach Pitso Mosimane to the bench. The 53-year-old missed Sundowns’ midweek Nedbank Cup fixture against minnows EC Bees as he flew to Morocco to complete his Caf Pro Licence.
The former Bafana Bafana mentor is also likely to ring the changes ahead of the game, bringing back many of his more senior players. The likes of Percy Tau and Denis Onyango are likely to return to the starting XI, after they were rested on Tuesday, while Sibusiso Vilakazi could be given a start after serving a suspension in the week.
Mosimane though, is left with a selection dilemma upfront as he mulls over whether or not to give Jeremy Brockie a run. The New Zealand international has struggled ever since completing his highly anticipated switch to Chloorkop and he is yet to break his Sundowns duck. But it remains to be seen if the Sundowns technical team will look to give him a run-in hope of not depleting his confidence or hope that he can make a difference coming off the bench.
Nevertheless, what is certain is that Sundowns will need to be sharp against Rayon, especially at the back. Rayon have shown that they are quick on the break and can cause the Sundowns defence several headaches. Last time out, Mosimane opted for experience as he utilised both Wayne Arendse and Ricardo Nascimento in the heart of the defence, but the Sundowns mentor may be tempted to change it up this time around after Motjeka Madisha exploits against Bees.
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Sundowns will also be wary that all it will take for Rayon to advance is a solitary away goal. But if Mosimane’s sentiments after their draw in Kigali are to be believed, the Brazilians are likely to go for it from the off. Sundowns have found the back of the net on eight occasions in the league this season, which Rayon will certainly be wary off considering that the club’s top scorer Tau is expected to lead the line.
However, one worrying factor going into the game which cannot be ignored and will surely be something that Rayon will look to exploit is Sundowns’ poor home form. Prior to their hard-fought victory over Bees, Sundowns only managed one win in five in Tshwane, and this could perhaps create room for a potential upset that could see the 2016 Caf Champions League winners crash out of the tournament at the first hurdle.