“SUNDOWNS WINNING CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CUP BACK-TO-BACK IS POSSIBLE”- SPORTS ANALYST
*Caption: Mamelodi Sundowns squad celebrating after winning the CAF Champions League Cup Final against Zamalek FC.
Picture from: Mamelodi Sundowns Official Facebook page.
Written by: Samkele Sokhela
Following Mamelodi Sundowns’ Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League title accomplishment two weeks ago, South African football followers have reacted with mixed sentiments about the chances of Masandawanas repeating the same fate in next year’s tournament.
Sundowns became the second South African team to be crowned African Champions after comfortably defeating Egyptian giants Zamalek F.C who are one of the northern African teams that have been dominating in the competition ever since it was founded in 1964.
After their CAF Champions league Final 3-1 aggregate victory on the 23rd of October over a top side like Zamalek, soccer fans have responded with belief that the newly crowned Kings of Africa can still win the tournament back-to-back.
“Northern African teams Champions League domination era is over now. I am a Kaizer Chiefs fan but I applaud Sundowns. At the beginning of the season when they were buying a lot of foreign players I was one of the many people who were criticising them, but now it has turned out that buying them has paid off,” said Paulus Maduna, a soccer fan from Dassenhoek.
Maduna also applauded the Brazilians’ management for not hesitating and being afraid of spending big money in buying ‘quality’ players.
“I salute Sundowns because they don’t hesitate when they have to spend big in buying quality players. I do believe that they will win the competition even next year because they have quality (players). I am a Chiefs fans, but I give us no chance of winning a cup one day in Africa because our Management hesitates when they have to spend big,” added Maduna.
Another soccer fan, Luvo Ndyebethi believes that even though he also gives Sundowns a chance, other Premier Soccer league (PSL) sides are also capable of lifting the CAF trophy.
“With Sundowns winning the star, more teams such as the likes of Chiefs, Pirates, SuperSport and BIDVest Wits are going to be motivated. Yes, I also do believe that the year 2016 was the end of the Egyptian era. What can stop us from winning like they have been doing in previous years? We are on the same playing level as them. It’s now time for South African teams to be recognised in the continent,” said Ndyebethi.
However, Sports Analyst Bongani Yengwa said fans should not get carried away by the recent success of a South African team because in football anything can happen.
“I do not know whether they (Sundowns) will win again next year. In football, anything can happen. However, judging by the current squad that they have, the way they play, and with a South African Coach Pitso as their Coach, It is possible,” said Yengwa, who works as a Sports Administrator at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Al Ahly from Egypt has won the prestigious cup on eight occasions, following them are their arch-rivals, 2016 runners up to Sundowns, Zamalek who have taken the honours on five occasions.