Mamelodi Sundowns forced to deal with travel complications

By Mark GleesonFootball Writer, South Africa
Coach Pitso Mosimane
Coach Pitso Mosimane has scheduled a training session on Christmas Day

South African club Mamelodi Sundowns have had to travel through Europe in order to get to Algeria in time for an African Champions League match on Saturday.

Players and staff flew to France on Monday and will then arrive in Algiers on Tuesday because of the vagaries of travel on the African continent.

The 25-man squad will then train on Christmas Day before facing USM Alger on Saturday.

"You can't go direct to Tunis, Rabat or Algiers and we can't do anything when we arrive on Tuesday which is the 24th," said coach Pitso Mosimane.

"We will have to train on Christmas Day. We'll try to do something (to celebrate Christmas) with the embassy if they are not closed.

"If the embassy is closed, we will see what we do in the hotel to pep ourselves up but we have to train on Christmas Day.

"It is part of the programme, we have to do tactics on the 25th and bring everybody up to speed."

The South African champions have a busy fixture list, having won the South African League Cup and played two league games in a week before the trip to North Africa.

They lie second in the South African Premier League, seven points behind Kaizer Chiefs with the league almost at the halfway point.

Sundowns currently top Group C in the Champions League and know a win will significantly boost their chances of progressing into the knockout phase of the competition.

Their campaign so far has seen them beat Petro Atletico of Angola 3-0 at home before drawing away in Morocco with Wydad Casablanca.

USMA have drawn their opening group games against the same opponents.

"I believe we can win there," Mosimane said of the clash in Algiers.

"I think we have a chance to win this one more than the one against Wydad in Casablanca. But it is not going to be an easy game."