Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has given a positive injury update on the likes of Lucas Ribeiro and Peter Shalulile ahead of their African Football League final second leg against Wydad Athletic Club.
Mokwena’s side collected a 2-1 defeat at a packed Stade Mohamed V on Sunday and a 1-0 win at home would be enough to lift the inaugural AFL trophy – which comes with a lofty $4 million (R74 million) prize money.
Ahead of the first leg, Sundowns announced that players like Shalulile, Ribeiro, Abubeker Nasir, Sipho Mbule and youngster Siyanda Nyanga have all reached stage 3 of their injury recovery, leaving hope that some might be ready for the second leg.
Mokwena has admitted he also hopes that some of his long-term absentees will be ready for the clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday.
“Today [Tuesday], I saw a much better Lucas. I saw a much better [Bathusi] Aubaas. And I saw a much better Peter Shalulile. I saw a much better Sipho Mbule,” he told Robert Marawa on Radio 947.
“And even though there are no guarantees yet, because we’ve got quite a few training sessions, for the mere fact that they are on stage three, leading into the stage where they will work with the conditioning coaches to try to assess and test their level from a conditioning perspective.
“What is also important is that we try the best that we can to have our best players on the pitch and in their best positions.”
When quizzed whether the club’s main goalscorer, Shalulile would be ready for Sunday, Mokwena did explain that he was almost ready to play in the first leg, admitting their is a chance the Namibian striker will be back in the squad.
“It [Sunday] is too far to be honest,” he added.
“He was closer to playing in the previous match, the unfortunate situation was that it would’ve needed him to travel after we had left Cairo.
“Then that would mean that he only would’ve arrived match day -1 and we were not 100% sure already whether he would participate in the game and maybe we would’ve him arriving match day -2 [rather] than match day -1.
“Now that we had a bit of a medical check-up today and some good recovery for the boys, I saw him, he looks in a good space, like many of the others.
“We’ve got a lot more training, we’ve got three training sessions ahead of the final. So there is a possibility.”