Disappointed Sundowns have to move on
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.
INDUSTRIOUS Midfielder Andile Jali has also been earmarked for Rio
IMPRESSIVE Tiyani Mabunda will have to be at his best against Enyimba
GROUNDED Pitso Mosimane expects a tough clash against Enyimba