Will Sun­downs ride their CAF luck?

Coach is aim­ing for a top-four fin­ish and says the team must grab the op­por­tu­nity

CityPress - - Sport - TIMOTHY MOLOBI timothy@city­press.co.za

Mamelodi Sun­downs have set their eyes on a top-four fin­ish in the CAF Cham­pi­ons League. This is ac­cord­ing to coach Pitso Mosi­mane who said his team should ride their luck, ad­ding that he was tar­get­ing 10 points from six matches to reach the semi­fi­nals.

“Win all your home games and get at least one draw away, and you are home and dry. This is what we are aim­ing for,” said Mosi­mane.

He said he’s told his play­ers to use the group stages of the tour­na­ment to gar­ner more ex­pe­ri­ence for next year’s event. By win­ning the Absa Premier­ship ti­tle, Downs have booked them­selves a place in the tour­na­ment.

“We get another op­por­tu­nity and we must use it. We had al­ready for­got­ten about this tour­na­ment, but we have to give it our all. Maybe this is a sign that we are des­tined to go far, but we have to work hard and grab the op­por­tu­nity,” said Mosi­mane.

The Brazil­ians got back into the CAF Cham­pi­ons League via the back door, giv­ing them a shot at con­quer­ing the con­ti­nent again af­ter re­plac­ing DR Congo’s AS Vita – dis­qual­i­fied for field­ing the in­el­i­gi­ble Idrissa Traoré.

Downs visit ES Sétif of Al­ge­ria in their open­ing group game on Satur­day. Kick­off is at 10.30pm South African time.

Mosi­mane said he was happy most of Downs play­ers were in ac­tion last week­end for their coun­tries in the CAF Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fiers and can­not com­plain about lack of ex­pe­ri­ence.

From goal­keeper De­nis Onyango to striker Cuth­bert Mala­jila, Sun­downs were well rep­re­sented in the qual­i­fiers.

Four Downs play­ers – Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Te­bogo Langer­man, Kea­gan Dolly and Hlom­pho Kekana – fea­tured for Bafana Bafana against Gam­bia. Dolly scored twice for Bafana while Khama Bil­liat and Mala­jila were on tar­get when Zim­babwe beat Malawi.

Kennedy Mweene was in goals when Zam­bia went down to Guinea Bis­sau.

An­thony Laf­for helped the Lone Stars of Liberia to a cred­i­ble 2-2 draw with Togo, and Onyango was be­tween the poles when his Ugan­dan Cranes beat Botswana in Gaborone. The Ze­bras of Botswana had Mo­gakolodi Ngele in their line-up. “It augers well for us to have so many play­ers rep­re­sent­ing their coun­tries. They gain in­valu­able lessons – which ben­e­fit the club in the long run.” He said they gave those who were on na­tional duty a week to re­cover and they will join the rest of the team to­mor­row. Un­for­tu­nately, Sun­downs will be mi­nus two of their play­ers – Onyango and Langer­man – as they are both sus­pended. Mosi­mane said he was look­ing to re­in­force the side for the tour­na­ment. “With Langer­man out and Mzikayise Mashaba strug­gling with in­juries, we don’t have a left back. We are bal­anced in the goal­keep­ing depart­ment.”

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

TOP ACHIEVER Khama Bil­liat will lead the Mamelodi Sun­downs at­tack in Al­ge­ria

PHOTO: SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

CON­FI­DENT Pitso Mosi­mane is pos­i­tive about get­ting re­sults

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