BULAWAYO - Chicken Inn will be hoping to be the first team to defeat Mamelodi Sundowns since last September when they clash in the African Champions League preliminary round at Barbourfields Stadium today.
Kick-off is 3pm.
The Brazilians have been in ruthless form in the South African domestic league where they have gone for 19 games without a defeat in all competitions.
Ably led by the deadly combination of Zimbabwean Khama Billiat, Colombian Leonardo Castro and the mercurial South African winger Keagan Dolly, Sundowns have swept all before them.
The Brazilians currently enjoy a nine-point lead at the top of the Absa Premiership table after 19 matches.
On the other hand, Chicken Inn, who are embarking on their maiden African football campaign after winning the Zimbabwean championship last year, come into this match will little match fitness.
The Zimbabwean league is currently on off-season which could prove to be a heavy disadvantage for the Gamecocks.
Although they got into this afternoon’s match as favourites, Sundowns coach Pisto Mosimane played down his side’s chances.
The Brazilians arrived in the country yesterday touching down at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport at midday.
Despite his side’s terrifying form in the South African league, Mosimane said: “We Respect Chicken Inn. We know they are strong, we know they won the league. I think they know everything about us.
“Their coach has been to South Africa so he knows about us. I think he knows the team more than anybody else because our team is always on TV everyday.”
On Wednesday night, Sundowns extended their unbeaten run by defeating Soweto giants Orlando Pirates 2-1 in the league.
“It’s a different game. You have to come with respect and I understand Chicken Inn did well in the league and they are on form and for them to take the league from DeMbare after four years, it means a lot about them so you got to respect them,” he said.
“We respect them they are very good and the coach is very good, he was coach of the year. He came to South Africa. He did his job, he was looking at us. But I don’t know what they know about us.”
Although they have great respect for Joey Antipas’ side, Mosimane said they were going to play their normal attacking game.
Antipas said they are worried with Sundowns’ form but the Zimbabwean champions would try their best to secure a good first leg lead.
“It is quite a big concern, Sundowns are like a house on fire,” Antipas said. “They are playing very well, consistent and have got a very good squad but we just going to try and knuckle them down and close their supply lines and be strong in defence and also strong as a unit.
“That being our first game we have to go there and play a cautious game. We cannot go out there and charge at them like Red Indians, we got to be cautious because if we go out there and take them head on Sundowns are a very brilliant side they can expose us.
“We are not saying we are going out there to park a bus but to be cautious.”