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HomeCAF Champions LeagueMorena - What Sundowns Learnt From Al Ahly

Morena – What Sundowns Learnt From Al Ahly

Mamelodi Sundowns utility man Thapelo Morena says their away battles against Al Ahly have equipped them for what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere in Tunis.

Sundowns take on Esperance on Saturday evening at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi for the first leg semi-final of the CAF Champions League.

Tunisia is known for its ferocious football atmosphere in Africa, with the stadia expected to be lit up with flares and jeers to welcome the Brazilians.

“Yes it fuels us, our mindset is a bit different, especially when we play Champions League because we know when we play away, we know how supporters are and how passionate they are supporting their team, especially when they play at home,” Morena said when asked of the battles in Cairo fuels them for North African experiences.

“I think with Al Ahly, Wydad… Esperance for me, the last time I was here, it ranks first or second, the atmosphere is going to be something else, and you know when it’s like that, Sundowns we just wanna play our normal football and do our best.

“It’s also one of the best crowds I’ve played [in front of] it’s not my first time in Tunisia or playing Esperance, so yeah I think this season is way better than the last time I was in Tunis – I think we’re gonna have a great atmosphere, but the most important thing is the flames and the crackers that will be surrounding us on the field.”

Sundowns arrived on Wednesday and Morena admits there wasn’t much physical activity that was able to be done as they focused more on analysis of the game.

“I think the regen is important for us after the trip, the long flight and yeah to bring back the legs, obviously arriving on Wednesday we couldn’t do a lot, the most important thing was to sit down and check the analysis and be in the video room more than on our feet,” he explained.

“I think the first few minutes they will come guns blazing because they are at home and they will go on the sides, as how they played [at AFCON], they gonna style of play they played there. 

“The most important thing is to try and close the sides and force them inside where we have numbers.”

The two sides meet on Saturday evening at 21h00 in Tunis, with just over 50% capacity set to be allowed by the Tunisian authorities.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.