As it has become the norm in recent time, games are coming in thick and fast for Mamelodi Sundowns as they continue to look beyond South African football.
This throws up a conundrum for Pitso Mosimane and his technical team, as the burden of expectations as well as the price for success gives them something to think about.
While Sundowns may be out of the Nedbank Cup which saves them an additional four games and perhaps grants them an extra day of rest, the journey to the top of the continent is tough.
With Sundowns traveling long distances across the continent with their next encounter against Asec Mimosas in Abidjan, the challenge of fatigue is a real worry. But can Mosimane really rest some of his key players for the clash against Mimosas?
The answer is simply no. While Sundowns enjoy the luxury of depth at their disposal, they still cannot afford to take their foot off the gas despite being in a promising position.
Firstly, Mimosas cannot be underestimated on their own turf. The Ivorian giants are on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, which indicates that the clash on Tuesday may not be as easy the reverse leg in Tshwane.
Experience is likely to come to the fore, and although Sundowns still have a trip to Morocco and a home game against Lobi Stars to look forward to, they should not defer their progression.
Rather Mosimane is fully capable of finding the right balance in his upcoming games.
On Sundowns’ return to Tshwane, they welcome Polokwane City in the league, and the 54-year-old could potentially utilize that game to give some of his senior players a rest.
However, what’s certain is that players such as Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane are integral to the plans in Ivory Coast.
But with Emiliano Tade now in the team, Mosimane has been offered an opportunity to change things around.
While it remains unlikely that he will make too many changes, especially upfront, having that fresh-new option will be something that Mosimane will relish.
Nonetheless, Sundowns find themselves in second place, just three points clear of Asec Mimosas – this is certainly not a fixture that Sundowns can afford to let slip through their fingers.
Mosimane though should use this game as a signal of intent in order to send a message to all other teams on the continent.
This is exactly what Al Ahly and TP Mazembe among other teams have done over the years, and if Sundowns want to be added to that list, it should be noted that they need to adopt the same style.