Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has confirmed Abdelmounaim Boutouil is available for selection and could make his debut for the club in the CAF Champions League.

Sundowns open their campaign in Africa’s elite club competition against Seychelles outfit La Passe for a place in the group stages after they advanced due to Volcan forfeiting their second leg 1st round qualification tie last month.

Boutouil, 24, was notably signed to shore up their defence and provide an alternative outlet on the left side of defence as a technically gifted player with an impressive passing range with extensive experience on the continent.

The 2019 African Nations Championship winner with Morocco was lured from SCC Mohammedia in a deal worth a reported R7-million and it’s likely that he now makes his debut after nearly a month since his arrival in South Africa.

“He’s training, he’s registered and available for selection, as far as I know, but look we’re trying to build our team, we’re trying to get to a very good point at the second round of the season,” Mokwena said on Thursday afternoon at Chloorkop.

“We’re trying to solve that by improving the telepathy and cohesion but that only can improve by playing games, so we will try our level best to put the best team on the pitch, the most deserving team on the pitch.

“We work on meritocracy and therefore it’s difficult to talk about rotation because there are times we play certain players, not because we are rotating but the number one reason being, they are deserving to be in the team through previous performances, training attitude, training intensity, training application and then all factors are considered when making the line-up.”

Mokwena stated they are looking for improvements in the side as they feel the start of the 2022/23 season has not been up to expectation yet, despite still sitting at the summit of the DStv Premiership and in contention to retain their MTN8 crown.

“We’ll see, we’ve been on a good run – can it be better? For sure but we’ve been on a good run for the last four games undefeated, very good football in certain moments – and yeah we want to play better,” he continued.

“We want to have more passes, we want to create more chances, we want to score more goals – but it’s good, we’re giving opposition fewer opportunities, we dominating matches.

“We’ve got huge improvement from last season in terms of the final third numbers, in terms of creative situations where with a little bit of concentration and more focus, it could result in something. But the only way to improve the performances is if the players play more on the pitch.”

Sundowns are set to face La Passe this Sunday at Loftus Versveld for their away fixture due to the opposition not having a stadium that meets the requirements for the Confederation of African Football.


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