Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:09 pm
Reigning CAF Champions League champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, have set their targets on the Total CAF Super Cup 2016 as they aim to continue their quest to dominate African club football.
The ‘Brazilians’ head into the much-awaited fixture beaming with confidence after a 6-0 drubbing of Orlando Pirates in a domestic encounter last week.
The Pretoria based outfit will be making their maiden appearance in the annual one off match when they play host to DR Congo giants, TP Mazembe (winners of the 2016 Orange CAF Confederation Cup) at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday.
Sundowns have set their hearts at stamping their authority in Africa after historically being the second club from the Southern part of the continent to lift Africa’s most sought after trophy.
Although being the visitors in this clash, ‘Les Corbeaux’ boast years of experience in the continental club competitions with five CAF Champions League triumphs. Mazembe are the holders of the CAF Super Cup after overcoming Etoile du Sahel in last year’s edition for their third winners’ medal and will be going all out to cause a major upset playing away from home.
However, Mamelodi Sundowns mentor, Pitso Mosimane is not fazed by their opponents’ previous success in the competition. Mosimane, who was voted CAF Coach of the Year 2016, believes that previous results at such competitions do not always determine the outcome.
“They obviously have more experience in CAF competitions and that is something we cannot take for granted. But looking at our journey to the CAF Champions League final, nobody gave us a chance and that has worked in our favour. People have started noticing and respecting Sundowns and we want to maintain that for our supporters. We now have another task ahead of us in the form of TP Mazembe which we will give it our all” said a confident Mosimane.
The ‘Brazilians’ have a clean bill of health after resting some of their key players in a midweek clash (1-1 with Chippa United) whilst ‘Les Corbeaux’ will be minus some key players including Roger Assale and Jonathan Bolingi, who have joined the exodus bandwagon. However, the Ravens could be dangerous should players such as Rainford Kalaba, Solomon Asante and returnee former captain, Tresor Mputu be left unattended.
Pound for pound, there is no doubt that both sides match with quality in every department. Having met on two separate occasions with the first encounter being a 1-0 victory for Mamelodi Sundowns that was met with a 3-1 return leg defeat, the encounter promises fireworks from the first whistle.
Sundowns will look to their experienced players such as Hlompho Kekana to keep things tidy in the midfield and keep the Mazembe dangerous players in check. The Sundowns captain whose wonder strike in national team colours against Cameroon in an AFCON 2017 qualifier, was shortlisted for FIFA Goal of the Year, says they are fired up for the encounter against Mazembe.
“We owe it to the club, our families and the nation to do well in this competition. We have set ourselves goals of doing well in the continent and the CAF Super Cup is one of them. We have played them twice and learnt a lot about them. The match on Saturday will be a totally different ball game as we come into the match as African champions, which is a title that we proudly hold” said Kekana.