The moment of truth has arrived for Sundowns
‘Bafana Ba Style’ will have to defy the odds in Alexandria to claim the CAF Champions League title.
JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns players are now only a few hours away from playing what is likely to be the most important 90 minutes of their career in a bid to become the champions of African club football.
Sundowns are looking to become only the second team in Southern Africa to walk away with the coveted CAF Champions League title, after their rivals Orlando Pirates clinched it in 1995.
A Champions League final is nothing foreign to 'Bafana Ba Style,' having played and lost to Al Ahly in 2001, but now they stand on the cusp of redeeming themselves and upsetting the four time champions Zamalek of Egypt.
Zamalek players will also have to produce the greatest performance of their careers if they want to be crowned the champions, after suffering a crushing 3-0 loss to Sundowns in the first leg of the final at Lucas Moripe Stadium last Saturday.
Downs were imperious in their backyard, with goals from Anthony Laffor, Tebogo Langerman and an own goal forced by Percy Tau and coach Pitso Mosimane will be hoping that these players and the rest of the squad come to the party once again and rewrite the history books.
Mosimane's name is set to go down in football history as he will become the first South African coach to guide his team to continental glory and become the second South African coach, after Clive Barker, to win a major continental tournament at men's senior level.
The men from Mamelodi in Tshwane will have to defy the odds in Alexandria, as the Egyptians will not make it easy - they will be faced with intense intimidation, they will have to contend with lasers in their eyes, a hostile crowd of approximately 100,000 and the likelihood of below average officiating.
South African football legend and a winner of the 1995 Champions League with Orlando Pirates Marks Maponyane says Sundowns should not allow the hostility to get the better of them.
"They shouldn't even be intimidated by the atmosphere because we all know there will be lasers flashing all the time. What is key, is for them to focus on the game and that's one thing they've been doing well. They just shouldn't be over-awed by the occasion"
Sundowns legend Zane Moosa believes that Zamalek will need nothing short of a small miracle if they are to overturn this 3-0 deficit.
"Barring a small miracle, I don't know, unless those guys have other players… Unless something very bad happens, like a bad start, bad decisions going against them, the referee, they get a red card…other than that, Sundowns have the players and the team for this."
The visitors will be pleased to know that 150 of their own fans will be in attendance, thanks to club president Patrice Motsepe, who offered to fund an all-expenses-paid trip for the club's faithful to help galvanise the boys.
The match will kick off at 8.30pm tonight.