Makudubela hails Yanga players’ mentality ahead of Sundowns tie

By Seth Mapoli , The Guardian
Published at 05:33 PM Mar 29 2024
Yanga's winger, Mahlatse ‘Skudu’ Makudubela.
Photo: Yanga Sc
Yanga's winger, Mahlatse ‘Skudu’ Makudubela.

YANGA's winger Mahlatse ‘Skudu’ Makudubela has lifted the lid on the mentality of his teammates ahead of their much-anticipated CAF Champions League quarterfinal clash against Mamelodi Sundowns.

Sundowns will confront Yanga in a potentially explosive first-leg quarterfinal encounter at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam in the evening. 

The Mainland Tanzania champion will then visit the South African football powerhouse, nicknamed 'Masandawana', a week later in Pretoria for the reverse fixture on April 6.

Makudubela, the first South African to play for Yanga, is a product of the Sundowns academy. He opened up on how his teammates feel about facing the inaugural African Football League champion.

The winger revealed: “I think it is a very good stage, everyone in Africa will be watching the quarterfinals, all eight teams making it this far means there is no easy team, there is no easy draw."

“The general feeling [within the team] is that we’re here by merit. We’ve competed in the group stages and come this far," the winger pointed out.

“Yanga is here by merit, we deserve to be here, we could have drawn any team and it happens to be Mamelodi Sundowns, which is very exciting for us. We’re looking forward to being in the next round when they make the semi-final draw,” the player added.

Interestingly, Yanga’s head coach Miguel Gamondi was a league winner with Sundowns in 2006. Makudubela, the former Marumo Gallants winger further revealed the demand placed on them by Gamondi.

“With Coach Gamondi, every game we play, be it a league game, be it a cup game he always wants to win. Our coach is a winner. Gamondi is a high-level competitor," the footballer noted.

Makudubela disclosed: “He’s a very good tactician and very advanced. And he’s turned the team around. He’s also excited to play his former team."

“Everybody at the club is looking at this game, and we’re going to make sure we qualify for the next round.”

Makudubela, however, admits the clash would not be a stroll in the park for the Jangwani Street giants.

The winger said: “We look forward to it. We know it’s not going to be an easy game. Sundowns is a very well-structured club, technically and tactically.”

“The players they have, the history speaks because of the things they have achieved. But, for us, we understand that to be the best, you need to compete against the best.”

Makudubela - who is yet to become a regular starter at the club- is slated to have his part in this game due to his experience with South African football, with Gamondi expected to give the footballer a chance to play his part against his former side.