No Jingle Bells for Mamelodi Sundowns amid fixture pile-up

No Jingle Bells for Mamelodi Sundowns amid fixture pile-up

A fixture pile up is on the cards for Mamelodi Sundowns with the reigning DStv Premiership champions scheduled to play five matches – including a trip to Cairo – until 30 December.

The Brazilians are back in action against Cape Town Spurs at Loftus Stadium on Wednesday night before jetting off to Egypt for a CAF Champions League fixture against Pyramids, who held them to a goalless draw in Tshwane at the weekend. 

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has spoken about navigating through a period that is traditionally reserved for family. 

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"Culture also comes into that space, and the South African culture in the December period is a culture that doesn't accomodate football," acknowledged Mokwena.

"Over the years, even as a child growing up, this time of the year is for festive games and for us to go and watch the Maimane [Alfred] Phiri Games."

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While trying not to make excuses, Mokwena said he was yet to have a clearer picture of how his staff will manage the load on the players. 

Downs wrap up the year with domestic games against Cape Town City, Moroka Swallows and Polokwane City. 

"It's very, very difficult if you have a clearer understanding of what it means to get a little bit more refreshed because you leave the house, and your wife and kids at home, and they say, 'You're leaving again?' and, 'You're going to training again?'" he noted.

"And, of course, it's very difficult for the players, and that's why I said I want to thank them for responding to the talk at half-time [against Pyramids]."

Sundowns will now have to rely heavily on their fitness trainers, team doctors and the rest of the backroom staff to manage what Mokwena described as a testing two weeks in December. 

"Lets recover and bring the team back, and let's see what happens. We've got a very difficult two-and-a-half weeks left, a very difficult programme, and then they've got to go to AFCON, majority of them have got a camp, so let's see what happens," he concluded.

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