Sundowns continue domestic and continental ball juggle

Sundowns continue domestic and continental ball juggle
12 February 2019 07:26

Mamelodi Sundowns are determined to reclaim their 2016 title as kings of African football while at the same time entrench their dominance on the local scene.

The 2016 winners have for the past three seasons managed to play a good juggling act of local and continental football with the demanding schedule of local league and cup competitions alongside their ever-growing ambitions of conquering Africa.

After handing Black Leopards a 3-1 drubbing on Wednesday, Sundowns jetted off to Ivorian capital Abidjan immediately start their preparations for the return leg with ASEC Mimosas on Tuesday.

Having arrived in Abidjan on Thursday, Sundowns have had ample time to adjust to the conditions in the economic capital.

Just like Sundowns, the Ivorians have a CAF Champions League and Super Cup title to their name from 1998 and 1999 respectively. Since lifting the title 21 years ago, ‘Les Mimosas’ as they are affectionately known have been on somewhat of a downward spiral when it comes to continent football with their best run being a semi-final finish back in 2006.

The Ivorians were consistent features in the Champions League between 2001 and 2011 but have since been absent with this year being their return year to the continent’s premier football competition.

Sundowns travelled with their regulars to Abidjan and will be looking at being the first team to score against Mimosas at home in this year’s campaign of the Champions League.

“A win in Abidjan is very important for us and we must also win against Lobi Stars so that when we go to Casablanca, we don’t go there desperately needing a result” said Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane.

“The Brazilians” came out 3-1 victors the last time the two sides met at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria in a game that saw the South Africans running rings around the Ivorian champions. However, the Stade Felix Houphouet Boigny in Abidjan has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the 26-time Ligue 1 champions who will be looking at avenging their humiliating defeat suffered in Pretoria.

While Sundowns share their pole position with their newly formed rivals, Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco on six points apiece, the Ivorians are third in the group, also tied on three points with Nigeria’s Lobi Stars but with a better goal difference.

A positive result at home for ‘Les Mimosas’ will throw Group A wide open and stage a photo finish for the four clubs who all still stand a chance of securing a place in the last eight of the competition.

Meanwhile, Wydad will be hoping to secure maximum points at home when they welcome Nigeria’s Lobi Stars in a later fixture on the same day.

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Draw of CAF Interclubs 2018/19

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