The Tshwane giants could arrive in Nelspruit as a depleted side if their key players fail to recover in time for their next game
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena says Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino, Lebohang Maboe and Promise Mkhuma will have to pass late fitness tests ahead of Sunday’s Premier Soccer League match against TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium.
More concern is, however, on star player Zwane who lasted just 12 minutes in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Maritzburg.
The way the attacking midfielder injured himself in an off-the-ball situation as well as a heavy limp while clutching his left hamstring created huge worries that he could endure a long stint on the sidelines.
But soon after the Maritzburg game, co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi estimated that Zwane could be out for a period between a week and 10 days amid concerns the Bafana Bafana star could miss the Caf Champions League quarter-final trip to Al Ahly on May 15.
“We had a couple of situations and unfortunately we had Promise who had muscle complication after coming on [as a substitute for Zwane against Maritzburg], which still awaits assessment and medical feedback,” Mokwena told Sundowns media.
“We still have a little bit more time after tomorrow’s [Saturday] training session. We would know. Themba Zwane also had muscle issues. We will wait and see after the medical assessment because 24 hours makes a big difference, particularly with minor muscle constraints.
“[Sphelele] Mkhulise is also a very important player for us but we will see. Hopefully, we can get Lebo back because Mkhulise, regardless of what happened medically, he is suspended for the TS Galaxy match. Hopefully, we can get some of the injured players back who missed the previous game like Gaston and Lebo Maboe.
“We will see how far we are but as I said, 24 hours makes a big difference because the body has supreme powers in relation to its own sort of natural rehabilitation processes. So let’s wait and see how they complete matchday minus one training.”
Even if Zwane is certified fit to play against TS Galaxy, Sundowns might be cautious and hand him very limited minutes of action to preserve him for the Al Ahly clash.
Masandawana are in Nelspruit keen to extend their lead on the PSL table to seven points.
After Sunday’s match, they would be at par in terms of matches played with second-placed AmaZulu.
The Brazilians face a TS Galaxy side placed eighth on the standings after a decent run under Owen Da Gama as relegation almost looked real to them earlier this season under Dan Malesela.
“It’s a game against a very complicated side and I think all the teams in the past coached by Owen Da Gama are very difficult teams,” said Mokwena
“They consistently have an approach which is relative based on being very resolute when out of possession, very difficult to break down, energetic and good coverage of the pitch. The same sort of way that Highlands Park used to play is now very similar to how TS Galaxy play.”