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African champs battle to beat village side as they prepare to face KCCA

Sserunkuma is expected to lead KCCA’s attack tomorrow. PHOTO KCCA MEDIA

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP |  Amateur village team Mariveni held African champions Mamelodi Sundowns for 50 minutes in Pretoria Monday before losing 2-0 in a South African FA Cup last-32 tie.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane rested most of his first team because they start their defence of the African title on Saturday at home to Ugandan club KCCA.

KCCA are already in South Africa, set for the match after some impressive home wins, including a mauling of Onduparaka.

In Monday’s game, Colombian Leonardo Castro finally ended the brave resistance of the visiting team, who play in the fourth tier of South African football.

Liberian Anthony Laffor atoned for a shocking missed scoring opportunity during the first half by adding a second goal on 52 minutes at Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium.

But fears that the amateurs would struggle physically and mentally after the double blow did not materialise and they managed several attacks in the closing stages.

The result was a pleasant surprise for many pundits, who feared for Mariveni before the kick-off as Sundowns crushed another amateur side 24-0 in the competition five years ago.

Sundowns began with two players — centreback Thato Nthethe and midfielder Laffor — from the side that beat Zamalek of Egypt in the 2016 CAF Champions League final.

But many replacements were high calibre, including Zambia 20121 Africa Cup of Nations-winning goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene and South Africa midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi.



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