Ahead of this evening’s fixture against Cape Town City, Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Neo Maema has explained how quickly they had to shift their focus after their CAF Champions League exit.
Sundowns exited the CAF Champions League quarterfinals on Saturday, after they played to a 1-1 draw against Petro de Luanda of Angola to go out 3-2 on aggregate.
They now must switch focus back to DStb Premiership action, when they face City at 19h30, and need only a draw to secure their fifth league title in a row.
The DStv Premiership defending champions are also still involved in the Nedbank Cup, where they will face Royal AM in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Maema explained how quickly they had to adjust after that shocking exit and went on to explain how disappointed they were as a team. Sundowns were hoping to go through after failing to make it into the semis in the past years.
“Following the exit of the Champions League, we only got like 24 hours to really be disappointed, to feel the way we feel, to be disappointed, to be angry, to be mad,” Maema told the club’s media department
“I feel like the coaches and the whole family of Mamelodi Sundowns gave us the support and especially supporters also.”
“It’s our responsibility to shift our focus now to the league, it wasn’t easy to deal with getting out of the competition that we really wanted to go all the way. But it’s football, it happens, we are allowed to be sad and disappointed in ourselves, because we expect so much from ourselves. Because we are a big club, we are top professionals. So it’s what happens and you know the universe doesn’t always get you what you want, you have to fight for it. and unfortunately, we got out in this in the quarterfinal.”
Remember, iDiski Times is back in the stores. You can grab your FREE COPY at a Shoprite store near you in Gauteng. The FREE ONLINE VERSION will be available on our website every Friday, first one on 29 April.
The Sundowns midfielder labelled City as one of the teams that are hard to play against especially after winning four of their last five games. Maema didnt hide the fact that the Citizens will definitely come at them as they always do.
“We preparing to look forward to the next one and its Cape Town City. Cape Town City it’s always a hard team to play against and looking at their past five games, they won four and only drew the last game. So it only means that the higher confidence and they’re gonna come at us and coming from good results for the five past games can only bring confidence into the camp,” he continued.
“We expect them to come at us and we’ve also been preparing for them, we watch some of the clips, we just get into a space of forgetting what happened and looking forward. And the coaches helps us, the senior players are also helping us to get over it, and to start focusing on Cape Town City because we have so much to play the league is still there, and also the Nedbank Cup. So we still looking forward to finish finishing the league and also the season very strong. But it wasn’t easy to get over that.
The 26-year-old praised the Masandawana supporters for coming into numbers at FNB Stadium last Saturday and thanked them for supporting the team even in hard times. Maema asked the yellow nation supporters to do the same this coming Wednesday when they face City.
“I just also would like to thank all the support as they came in numbers at FNB Stadium to support us, we really love them,” he added.
“Each and every one of them made their way to the stadium. I know it’s not easy to leave everything behind and come to watch us but it’s heartfelt. But then we want to thank them for coming in numbers and we thank them you know because for trusting also in us to all the supporters of Masandawana,
“I just want to encourage you all to come to the game on Wednesday. Make sure that you get your tickets for free. And we can’t wait to see you again on Wednesday.”
Sundowns will face Cape Town City on Wednesday night at Loftus Versfeld stadium. Sundowns could clinch their fifth league title if they win or draw the game.