Despite the seemingly frosty relationship between the Premier Soccer League and Mamelodi Sundowns, the Brazilians have received great support this week in their pursuit of another continental title.
The league has granted Downs permission to have their DStv Premiership home game against Maritzburg United in Tshwane, initially scheduled for Saturday, postponed to a new date still yet to be confirmed.
It’s due to the fact that the reigning league champions have scheduled their departure to Algeria for their second CAF Champions League group stages clash on Thursday, although the game against CR Belouizdad will be played five days later.
Under normal circumstances, Downs would have probably been able to host Maritzburg this weekend and then leave immediately after and have at least two days to prepare for their Champions League assignment.
But the Covid-19 protocols have forced the clubs, and the PSL, to be a little more flexible with their fixture schedule.
Downs welcome Baroka to the Loftus Stadium this evening (Wednesday), but due to the 11pm curfew in SA they can’t catch a flight immediately after, meaning they can only leave Johannesburg early the following day.
At the weekend, after beating Al Hilal of Sudan 2-0 in their opening group stages match here, co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi had already revealed that visas would be granted – it’s become a bit of a mission for clubs to move around the continent due to Covid.
The advantage, however, Mngqithi said, was not having crowds.
“You can appreciate that when you go away there are no fans and it is a different ball game altogether. We have to make the players aware that it is just a leveler in terms of the playing field – there’s no pressure from the 12th player (supporters),” he told journalists.
Downs were 2016 Champions League winners and are hoping for another title.