Will Sundowns ride their CAF luck?
Coach is aiming for a top-four finish and says the team must grab the opportunity
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.”
TOP ACHIEVER Khama Billiat will lead the Mamelodi Sundowns attack in Algeria
CONFIDENT Pitso Mosimane is positive about getting results