The final stage of the Caf Champions League kicks off this weekend with the quarter-finals of the continent’s biggest club stage, featuring a video assistant referee.
Sunsets Mamelodi will play the first match against Algerian team CR Belouizdad at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium on Saturday – the Algerian team landed in South Africa on Monday.
While VAR is designed to minimize controversy surrounding penalties and other match-defining incidents, Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena does not seem like someone who has put all his faith in technology.
“VAR is a component that match officials deal with behind the scenes, so it is still part of a game that is prone to flaws and human error,” says Mokwena.
“Our job is not to think about it, but to show that we are focused on playing against the good side and they know they will play against the good side. We have to focus on playing the match and try to make sure that we are in the best shape and perform at the level that is expected of us,” he added.
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Gallants mentor, Raymond Mdaka, says the strategy is to stick to your guns and avoid being bulldozed by what he describes as the “physical” side.
“When we go out and play Caf, we use the character that we have. These countries are more physical. A team like SuperSport United, which we last played with, plays long-range passes, but this is not the physical side, ”said Mdaka.
“In Africa, most of the teams are physical and they give us a lot of room to play. It’s nice when you go out and get results and come home with something other than saying we’ll get them at home. We will fight as much as we can so that when we return the task is not too big,” he added.