Galaxy host Sundowns in CAF thriller
The best of Botswana will take on the sultans of South Africa today (Tuesday) when Jwaneng Galaxy host Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League.
Having breezed past minnows Union Sportive de Zilimadjou in the preliminary round, smashing the Comoros side 5-1, Jwaneng will be in another galaxy when they line up against Sundowns, one of the biggest teams in Africa.
The glamour tie is truly a battle of champions as both sides won their respective domestic leagues last season – albeit in slightly contrasting fashion.
Galaxy’s first ever Premier League triumph proved a slightly anti-climatic affair. Leading Township Rollers by a single point, the local outfit were crowned champions with ten games still remaining.
This was after the BFA controversially ruled the BPL would not resume due to Covid-19 and thus the log was declared complete.
Amazingly, a 1-0 victory over Morupule Wanderers saw Galaxy leapfrog Rollers, Orapa United and Security Systems after all three lost on what turned out to be the final game of the season.
It meant Galaxy qualified for the Champions League for the first time in club’s six-year history.
Meanwhile, on a dramatic last day south of the border, the Brazilians piped Kaiser Chiefs to the PSL title by just two points.
A 3-0 victory over Black Leopards combined with an unexpected 1-1 draw for Chiefs against Baroka was enough for Sundowns to secure their third league triumph in a row, the club’s 10th in total.
Steve Komphela’s troops have started this season where they left off.
Unbeaten in seven league outings – winning five and drawing two – the Mamelodi-based outfit are in ominous form and currently sit top of the PSL table.
Galaxy will have to be especially wary of Sundowns red-hot striker, Themba Zwane. Having found the back of the net seven times already this season, the talented forward leads the goal scoring charts in South Africa.
However, Galaxy Coach, Losika Six Keatlholetswe stressed that although he respects Sundowns as one of the best teams on the continent, his players will not be overawed by the occasion.
Speaking to Voice Sport this week, the tactician revealed the team’s preparations were going well ahead of Tuesday’s encounter, which will be played in Lobatse.
“We are playing during a difficult time where traveling is a problem even locally due to Covid 19 protocol restrictions but we have to adapt. We had a challenge in our last game but we managed to do our best. I think we have prepared enough and the boys are ready to deliver.
“It has been a hectic week, training hard and everyone putting in more effort. No one would wants to sit on the bench when we are playing such a big game so they trained thoroughly. We just have to play with caution and not allow the visitors to score a goal as it might make our journey tough going into the next match. Playing against Sundowns is a motivation on its own and so we do not have much job to do at the training ground,” said Keatlholetswe, adding he has a full strength squad to pick from.
The return leg is on the 5th of January 2021 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, where a place in the tournament’s group stages awaits the winner.