Ramadaan helps Mamelodi Sundowns prepare for massive clash with Al Ahly in Cairo
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CAPE TOWN - Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has stated that arriving in Egypt during the Muslim holy of month of Ramadaan has helped his team "maintain their focus" ahead of the all-important CAF Champions League clash against Al Ahly on Saturday.
Having departed from OR Tambo airport on Tuesday afternoon, Sundowns arrived in Cairo on Wednesday morning at 3am via Addis Abba in Ethiopia.
Egypt, a predominantly Islamic country, were still observing the last day of Ramadaan which requires Muslims to stay without food and drink for from an hour before sunrise to sunset. The Egyptians will celebrate the culmination of a month long of fasting through Eid-al-Fitr on Thursday.
"The reception has been good. The weather has been accommodating. It's a very different climate coming into Egypt because the country is still going through Ramadaan and there is not as much traffic during the day," Mokwena said on Wednesday evening.
"It's serene and gives a little more energy to maintain focus and understand that we are here to do a national assignment. The climate is not as noisy as you would normally expect in Cairo. It's good it allows us to find our feet, our mental stability and focus at this moment at this time is very good."
After some rest and recuperation at the hotel, Sundowns had a training session on Wednesday evening that lasted until 10:30pm in a bid to rid the players of possible jet lag in preparation for the big clash with the defending CAF Champions League holders.
"We went to bed to get some rest and try to have a little bit control of the travel fatigue and prepare ourselves. We have just come back from our training session where we did a bit of activation from a technical perspective incorporating a bit of injury prevention and have completed a light session.
"The team looks energised, focused and the team knows what we are here for. We want to try in every game and reflect of course the culture we have at Mamelodi Sundowns and the driving culture of that is our work ethic."