Mamelodi Sundowns Aiming to Replicate AFL Win in CAF Champions League

Mamelodi Sundowns Aiming to Replicate AFL Win in CAF Champions League

Jarryd Westerdale
updated at November 24, 2023 at 8:58 AM
In this article:
CAF Champions League logo
CAF Champions League
  • Mamelodi Sundowns begin their new CAF Champions League campaign shortly
  • Winning the African Football League has generated confidence and expectation
  • Coach Rulani Mokwena has reminded his players to not take winning for granted

A clean slate cares not for the past. Mamelodi Sundowns' victory in the inaugural African Football League is a thing of 'back then' and they must now prove they have the stamina to run the full CAF Champions League gauntlet.

Sundowns may have won the AFL, but it is Al Ahly who are going to Saudi Arabia to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup as Africa's champions.

Mamelodi Sundowns, AFL, CAF Champions League.
Mamelodi Sundowns were victorious in the inaugural AFL and will aim to replicate that success in the CAF Champions League. Photo: @Sibiya_Official.
Source: Twitter

Sundowns have not won the CAF Champions League since 2016 when they defeated Zamalek 3-1 in the final.

The following season, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals and their next best runs were to the semi-finals in 2019 and 2023.

Before they think of knockout football, Masandawana must first navigate Group A which includes Congolese giants, TP Mazembe and increasingly dangerous Egyptians, Pyramids FC.

Sundowns have remained humble, despite being overwhelming favourites to defeat their next opponents, who will be playing in the competition's group phase for the first time, per CAF Online.

Speaking to SowetanLive, defender Grant Kekana said:

"We all know what the Champions League is like. Very competitive, very tough. The AFL proved that we can do it against the big guns. We don’t want to take anything for granted and take any team lightly."

The 16-team group stage begins this weekend with Sundowns welcoming Mauritanian champions, FC Nouadhibou. That clash kicks off at 3pm at Loftus Stadium on Sunday, November 26.

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Why Infantino backed AFL but not ESL

With the tournament recently concluded, Sports Brief analysed why FIFA backed the AFL but not its European equivalent.

Sundowns owner, Patrice Motsepe's played an influential role in making the tournament a success, with little objection.

The European Super League was widely rejected but has been revised, with a decision due from the courts this December.

Jarryd Westerdale photo
Jarryd Westerdale
Jarryd Westerdale (based in Johannesburg) joined Sports Brief after four years in the community journalism sphere. He is a two-time Alet Roux Award winner and was a finalist in multiple categories at the Forum of Community Journalism Excellence Awards.
South AfricaPatrice Motsepe