The Pretoria side is chasing a fourth consecutive league title in South Africa and currently lead AmaZulu by three points, with three games in hand
Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena wants to use the weekend’s Champions League loss to Algerian side Belouizdad as motivation for the Brazilians’ domestic league clash against Chippa United at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium.
In what is a big rarity, Downs will be heading into Monday’s match (3 pm kick-off) on the back of a defeat – the Champions League loss was the first time in 28 games they have been defeated in, since being knocked out of the MTN8 by Bloemfontein Celtic on the very first day of the season.
Mokwena, who is co-coach with Manqoba Mngqiti, wants his men to use that as motivation to bounce back against the Chilli Boys.
“We face Chippa United on the back of a defeat, we haven’t felt like this in a very long time,” he told Downs media. “The mood is extremely sombre, there is of course a feeling of unhappiness in and around the workspace.
“But it’s okay, this is how we have to test our resolve and our mental fortitude. Can we bounce back? Because it’s not in failing you are tested, it’s in how you react after the fall – how quickly do you get up and arrest the situation.
“The pain is good because the pain drives you to not want to be in that space again.”
The departure of Chippa United head coach Dan Malesela, after a 5-1 defeat to Maritzburg United, will make it more difficult for Sundowns to plan for how the interim manager, Siya Gwambi, sets out his team, says Mokwena.
“Preparing for Chippa is very difficult because of the change in leadership – the change in technical direction from a coaching perspective,” Mokwena, who previously had a brief spell in charge of Chippa, explained.
“The coach in charge at the moment – we don’t know much about him. We can’t even profile his games except for his stint in the MDC (reserve league).”
In 21 previous encounters between the two clubs, Sundowns have won 12, Chippa two, and there have been seven draws.
The Chilli Boys are lying second from bottom on the table with 17 points from 21 matches.