Instead, Sandilands is using his energy to prepare himself so that he is ready whenever he is called upon to man the posts for the side that has one hand in the Absa Premiership title with eight games to go.
The Brazilians are also in the Nedbank Cup last 16, drawn against first division side Mbombela United, where they’re fighting to retain their title while trying to make it to the group stage of the CAF Champions League for the first time since 2001. Competing on three fronts will test Sundowns’ depth with a squad that oozes quality from the starting XI to those who can’t make it to the match-day 18. But how those players handle the disappointment of missing out will determine how the club finishes.
“You have to be ready whenever the team calls upon you, especially now that it is the business end of the season,” Sandilands said. “I have prepared myself as if I am going to play every game because if that chance comes, I need to be at my best. I can’t be caught with my head in the clouds and worried about other things. My head is purely on serving the team. I am happy that I have given my best when I have been given a chance. That’s how every single player at Sundowns is like, ready when we are thrown into the mix.”
Sandilands is likely to deputise for Onyango tomorrow night at Lucas Moripe Stadium when the Brazilians take on AC Leopards of Congo at 8.15pm in the first leg of their first round Champions League tie. Sandilands had to step up in the first leg of the first round against Chicken Inn in Bulawayo where Sundowns’ 19-match unbeaten run came ended with a 1-0 defeat.
That loss, coupled with TP Mazembe eliminating them in the first round last year and then going on to be African champions, has taught Sundowns valuable lessons.
“We’ve got experience from the last Champions League, 1-0 at home is not enough,” Sandilands said. “Look at Chicken Inn, 1-0 at home wasn’t enough. We know that we have to get a good result here because experience has taught us that you can’t leave too much to do away from home. The guys drew a lot from the TP Mazembe game. It’s a tough competition to win but one that we feel we can win.”
Original source: Downs know they need a big home win