Sundowns, in the opinion of Rhulani Mokwena, have struggled recently on the continent

Sundowns, in the opinion of Rhulani Mokwena, have struggled recently on the continent

Rhulani Mokwena, co-coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, believes the club has underperformed on the continent in previous seasons.

The Brazilians won the CAF Champions League under Pitso Mosimane six years ago, but they haven’t advanced past the semi-finals since.

The closest they got to winning the title was in 2018, when they reached the final four before losing 2-1 on aggregate to Wydad Casablanca.

They were expected to go all the way last season, having spent lavishly in the transfer market, only to lose in the quarter-finals against Petro de Luanda.

Given their strength on the domestic front, their unexpected early exit raised worries about their commitment to conquer Africa again.

 

 

Mokwena, one of the co-coaches along with Manqoba Mngqithi, believes they failed last season despite the club’s goals to win every game.

“(Winning the Champions League) has always been the club’s goal, drive, and concentration.” That’s why, if we don’t get near, it’s a failure in my opinion,” he remarked.

“The club wants to be there where we compete and win games.” We’ll go again and do our best to be in a position to win in the end.”

Downs isn’t expecting to simply dominate continental since “it’s unpredictable.” That’s why they’ve added to their roster again this season.

Their latest signings include Bafana Bafana captain and No. 1 Ronwen Williams, as well as Chilean-born striker Marcelo Allende, who cost them R51 million.

After receiving a bye in the first round, Downs begin their qualifying process for the Champions League group stage in the second round.

They will play La Passe in the first leg at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday, with the second leg to follow in a few weeks.

Sundowns are unquestionably the favorites to advance to the group stage. However, Mokwena insists that the game will not be treated as a foregone result.

“Competitions like the Champions League aren’t played when you’re in the semi-finals or finals,” Mokwena stated ahead of their match against La Passe.

“Matches of significance are won in the first game of pre-season and the league where you begin plotting a winning mentality for the season.”

“I don’t believe the guys are afraid. When you begin to consider fear, you are already considering failure. “We try to stay upbeat,” he added.

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