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Sundowns Face Star-Studded Al Hilal In Pre-Season Clash

  • July 3, 2024
  • 2 min read
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Sundowns Face Star-Studded Al Hilal In Pre-Season Clash

Mamelodi Sundowns will face a formidable opponent during their pre-season training as they are set to take on Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal on 26 July.

Al Hilal made a significant splash in the transfer market last season, acquiring several top players. These include Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Sergei Milinković-Savić (Lazio), Aleksandar Mitrović (Fulham), and the marquee signing of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

They further bolstered their attack with Brazilian winger Malcom, who previously played for Barcelona and Zenit St. Petersburg.

The team is led by Portuguese manager Jorge Jesus, who guided them to the Saudi League title last season. Jesus also boasts a Copa Libertadores victory with CR Flamengo in 2019, although he fell short against Liverpool in the FIFA Club World Cup later that year.

Al Hilal pre-season fixtures
Al Hilal pre-season fixtures

This upcoming pre-season fixture holds even greater significance for Sundowns as they prepare for their participation in the expanded 32-team FIFA Club World Cup next year, which will be held in the United States. Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Manchester City are just a few of the European giants they might encounter, having won the UEFA Champions League in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Sundowns returned to pre-season training this week and will depart for Austria on 13 July for their pre-season camp.

Club chairman Tlhopie Motsepe emphasized the importance of this camp, stating,

“That is going to be very important camp for us to make sure that the agenda is set,” Motsepe stressed it out.  

“That the plan is ready. You will also hear exciting announcement both on the pitch and off the pitch in the next coming days.” 

Sundowns rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will also be conducting their pre-season training abroad, heading to Turkey and Spain respectively.

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