MAMELODI SUNDOWNS coach Pitso Mosimane’s pre-season camp has been marred by the injury of their important centre back, Ricardo Nascimento.

As coach Mosimane is putting his players through their paces at a camp in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, Nascimento was conspicuously absent.

Another injury scare in the Downs squad is that of Gaston Sirino, who is also not part of the pre-season camp.

Nascimento has a groin problem and underwent an operation.

He will most likely miss the better part of the coming season.

This is not the first time Nascimento suffers such an injury. He had a similar groin issue two seasons ago and was sent back home in Brazil to heal.

Said Mosimane: “Ricardo is going through an operation and it’ll take him a little bit longer. It’s the same challenge he had on the left leg groin and now it’s on the right leg. He was looking good, but it’ll take him some time to heal. Ricardo will be out for sometime.

“Gaston got injured and we sent him to Joburg to have the injury attended to and see what we can get,” added Mosimane.

The 32-year-old Nascimento was an important factor in the Downs defence and influential in the club winning its ninth league title.

He was named the Absa Premiership Defender of the Season at the PSL Awards, having played in 25 league matches and scored four goals.

He featured in 10 Caf Champions League matches as Sundowns lost to Wydad Casabalanca in the semi-final.

Sundowns have also given striker Jeremy Brockie some time off to deal with a family bereavement. He is expected to report back to Chloorkop soon.

After the camp in Nelspruit, and as per norm, Sundowns will be going to Africa for a number of friendly games. They will go to Botswana and DR Congo.

Mosimane is hoping to get a team from North Africa and play one of the two teams in Dubai or Qatar before the club’s first league match of the season against SuperSport United in August.