CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns have become the second visiting team to arrive in Japan for the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup. The South African side are making their first appearance at the tournament and will also be the first side to represent their country at the global club showpiece event.
*Masandawana *arrived in Osaka ahead of their second round game, where they will play the winners of Oceania kings Auckland City and Japanese J1 League champions Kashima Antlers on 11 December.
“First of all I'm really focused on winning the first match,” said Colombian forward Leonardo Castro. “I'm really looking forward to playing against a club from my home country in the semi-final,” he added, in reference to the winner of Sundowns’ second round game facing Copa Libertadores winners Atletico Nacional.
“I've played in several tournaments in South America so I don't feel the pressure and I believe we will get a good result if we do our play. We want to make this event a special and great experience.”
Sundowns – also nicknamed the Brazilians – were crowned champions of South Africa in May before storming to continental success in October, defeating Egyptian giants Zamalek SC over two legs.
“I'm very happy to be able to play in such a wonderful tournament held in such a great country like Japan. It's a bit colder than in South Africa but people here are very kind and I felt the town, roads are very organised,” said midfielder Mzikayise Mashaba. “We want to advance all the way to the final and play against Real Madrid in the final.”
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) December 6, 2016