Djokovic marks Monte Carlo Masters as his next tournament

The CAF Champions League group A match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly at FNB Stadium tomorrow (3pm) has the potential to determine who’ll finish as pool leaders between the two giants.

However, Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi has emphasised they’re not prioritising finishing as group winners, but qualifying for the knockout phase is what’s more important for them irrespective of how they do it.

“Our focus is always streamlined into first qualifying for the quarterfinals, then to top the group if needs be. It’s not always the important thing to top the group. What’s important in the group stages is to make sure that you qualify for the quarterfinals,” Mngqithi said in a media conference at the club’s base in Chloorkop yesterday.

Sundowns are currently at the summit of Group A with seven points, three ahead of Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly, who’re second because they’re boosted by a superior goal ratio but level on points with third-placed Al-Merrikh of Sudan. Another Sudanese side, Al-Hilal, are bottom with just one point.

Mngqithi expects Mosimane’s charges to aim for revenge as Sundowns beat them 1-0 in their backyard in the first leg two weeks ago. It was the first time the Brazilians score and beat the Red Devils in Cairo.

Thapelo Morena struck the historic goal. The Sundowns trainer is adamant the game will be thrilling. “Considering that they lost the first leg against us in their home ground, obviously they’ll come aiming for vengeance.

“It’s a match I think will be enjoyable because I believe when two big clubs are playing with a mentality to try to win the match not just to play for a draw or to play to consolidate their place, it becomes a very interesting match,” Mngqithi explained.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who produced a few superb saves to ensure Sundowns win in Cairo, has paid homage to the club’s keeper coach Wendell Robinson for helping him to remain a top shot-stopper even at 37. Mweene has stepped up to the plate in No.1 Denis Onyango’s absence in recent games. Onyango is battling with an Achille injury.

“It all goes back to training, the kind of training we do with coach Wendell is fantastic. I’m not that old, so I think one just has to look after themselves,” Mweene said.

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