CAF Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns' 5 Biggest Rivals for the Continental Crown

CAF Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns' 5 Biggest Rivals for the Continental Crown

Jarryd Westerdale
February 27, 2024 at 1:18 PM
In this article:
Mamelodi Sundowns logo
Mamelodi Sundowns
South Africa
TP Mazembe Englebert logo
TP Mazembe Englebert
Democratic Republic of the Congo
El Ahly Cairo logo
El Ahly Cairo
CAF Champions League logo
CAF Champions League
Young Africans logo
Young Africans
  • Mamelodi Sundowns have reached the CAF Champions League quarter-finals
  • Masandawana are tied with TP Mazembe with one game to go in Group A
  • Bongani Zungu believes his club is ready to go all the way this season

Mamelodi Sundowns' competition juggling act is increasing in difficulty.

There is one more group-stage match before the round concludes, but with progression sealed, an anticipation of what lies ahead is an inevitable indulgence.

The African Football League champions conquered the continent in the big-money spin-off, but reaching the summit of the most prestigious mountain is Rulani Mokwena's primary goal.

TP Mazembe, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bongani Zungu, CAF Champions League, Al Ahly, Young Africans.
TP Mazembe could be the biggest obstacle standing between Mamelodi Sundowns winning the CAF Champions League, but Bongani Zungu says they will go all the way. Photos: @Newscd15 and @_IamHarold.
Source: Twitter

Sundowns have a depth of personnel that few others can match. Bongani Zungu left for Portugal just months before the club's 2016 triumph but feels they are now in a position for a repeat. The Citizen quoted him as saying:

"We have the players to go all the way. I think last season’s competition made us learn a lot and we’ve got experience with the guys from AFCON."

To get there will be no formality and Sports Brief lists the five teams who could still end their charge to the title.

Sundowns' CAF Champions League rivals

1. ASEC Mimosa

Still unbeaten in a group that includes Simba SC and Wydad Casablanca, the Ivorians could be on a wave created by their national team's AFCON success.

They may not have reached the final since 1998, but the club have embarked on a strategy to retain their best players, as per FCBusiness.

2. Petro de Luanda

The Angolans are also unbeaten in this group stage and lead Esperance by a point before the final game, having avoided defeat to the Tunisians.

Sundowns beat Luanda 2-0 on aggregate in the Last 8 of the AFL, but they are currently the team with the most goals and best goal difference in the Girabola

3. Young Africans

The project of the new African Clubs Association chairman, Hersi A Said, Young Africans are making rapid strides. Like mining tycoon, Patrice Motsepe, the Tanzanian businessmen has adopted football as a vehicle for social change.

Top of the Tanzanian league in Sundowns-esque fashion, they have qualified for the CAF quarter-finals for the first time. This year may be too early for Young Africans, but they will be a force in years to come

4. Al Ahly

Since Sundowns last won the CAF Champions League, the Egyptians have made the final five times, including winning it last season. Sundowns did get the better of them in the AFL, but a decorated former player has critiqued the CAF competition. KingFut quoted Khaled El-Ghandour as saying:

"I believe the CAF Champions League has become a weak tournament. Wydad are trying to improve, and Esperance’s level has declined. Al Ahly and Sundowns are the two strongest teams in the African continent."

5. TP Mazembe

Any claims of Chloorkop-created invincibility will be foreign to the Congolese, who beat Sundowns in the opening group game in Lubumbashi.

Being overawed is a factor Sundowns' opponents generally have to deal with, but if Mazembe can get a point in Tshwane this weekend, it will put them in the psychological ascendancy should they meet later in the competition.

Khuliso Mudau on that AFCON miss

Sports Brief recently reported on Mudau's thoughts about his last-minute miss against Nigeria.

This was the first time the Sundowns right-back had spoken about a defining moment of his AFCON.

Overall, he had a fine tournament but what was most memorable was the wasted chance to win a game.

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.