Dis­ap­pointed Sun­downs have to move on

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

It is back to square one for Mamelodi Sun­downs af­ter Al­ge­rian team En­tente Sétif were dis­qual­i­fied from the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball’s (CAF’s) Cham­pi­ons League – rendering the Brazil­ians’ 2-0 vic­tory mean­ing­less.

Sun­downs had made their in­ten­tion of con­quer­ing the con­ti­nent very clear last week in Al­ge­ria and proved they could go far in the com­pe­ti­tion.

But the Al­ge­rian side were booted out of the com­pe­ti­tion by CAF fol­low­ing un­ruly scenes dur­ing their loss to Sun­downs.

Now Sun­downs have put that dis­ap­point­ment be­hind them and moved on.

With only three teams in the group, Downs will need at least two vic­to­ries and a draw to book a spot in the semi­fi­nals. So they have to win all their home games, start­ing on Wed­nes­day.

In Nige­rian team Eny­imba, they meet a wounded side which lost 1-0 at home to Egyp­tian top side Za­malek, which have a bye af­ter Sétif’s dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The clash takes place at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day. Kick­off is at 7pm. Downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane said they were ex­pect­ing a back­lash from the Nige­ri­ans, who would be de­ter­mined to bounce back and get their qual­i­fi­ca­tion back on track.

Mosi­mane said the Nige­ri­ans would be aim­ing to re­deem them­selves at the ex­pense of his Brazil­ians.

“This is the most im­por­tant game for us if we are to progress in the tour­na­ment,” he added.

“Eny­imba do not want to lose their sec­ond game in a row, and this is the game in which they would like to bounce back.”

An­other Eny­imba loss could mean the end of their cam­paign in the half­way point as ev­ery club will now play four games in­stead of the ini­tial six.

How­ever, Mosi­mane said they would be ready for any­thing the Nige­ri­ans throw at them.

“We are play­ing at home and we must use that to our ad­van­tage. To suc­ceed in CAF tour­na­ments you need to do well at home, and this is what we aim for.”

Eny­imba are the most suc­cess­ful Nige­rian foot­ball club, with two CAF Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles in 2003 and 2004, seven Nige­rian cham­pi­onships, as well as two CAF Su­per Cup ti­tles in 2004 and 2005.

Downs chief ex­ec­u­tive Sizwe Nz­i­mande said they were con­sult­ing to check if the club could be com­pen­sated, par­tic­u­larly for their ex­penses in Al­ge­ria.

If any­thing, African clubs should be scared of play­ing Sun­downs. First, Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo side AC Leop­ards were dis­qual­i­fied from the same tour­na­ment af­ter field­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player. Sun­downs were re­in­stated af­ter they were knocked out. Now it is the Al­ge­ri­ans who have been kicked out.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

IN­DUS­TRI­OUS Mid­fielder Andile Jali has also been ear­marked for Rio

PHO­TOS: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

IM­PRES­SIVE Tiyani Mabunda will have to be at his best against Eny­imba

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

GROUNDED Pitso Mosi­mane ex­pects a tough clash against Eny­imba

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