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HomeCAF Champions LeagueMokwena Hails Downs In Al Ahly & Wydad Comparison

Mokwena Hails Downs In Al Ahly & Wydad Comparison

Rulani Mokwena has praised his Mamelodi Sundowns team’s application and said they have shown a lot of growth in how they approach the CAF Champions League in recent years.

Mokwena was speaking ahead of Saturday’s first-leg of their CAF Champions League semi-final fixture against ES Tunis.

Mokwena said they have had to look at things a little differently this season, but praised how his team has applied themselves this campaign, where not only are they in the CAFCL semi-finals, but are also well on their way to defending their DStv Premiership table, and also are in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.

“I think we’ve developed a long way since the time where you could easily just describe us as very aggressive in the group stages and maybe a little bit more timid as a creature in the knockout,” Mokwena said at the MD-1 press conference.. 

“If you look at the last couple of years for sure that is probably true, but for the first time in the club’s history, we’ve done back-to-back semi-finals. After going back-to-back winners of the group stages. You only have to look this season at how many teams like Petro from Angola, were exceptional in the group stages, only to find themselves out in the next round. 

“These are occurrences that used to happen to us as well as Mamelodi Sundowns, where we didn’t have a clear understanding that actually the Champions League competition starts at the knockout. Part of the responsibility of the group stages is to make sure that you qualify, and that was our objective number one. We struggled a little bit to even get close to that target. 

“Fortunately, by the time we played Mazembe, we were in a situation where we had to choose between finishing first or second, and then that destiny was in our control. And then the next focus was to make sure we win the quarter-finals. 

“We played a very, very good side in Yanga away from home. We created enough chances to win, we limited their chances to probably almost one. And unfortunately, we drew that game 0-0. A performance that we were not 100% happy with. But we were content with the result, knowing that we’ve got a possibility to do something in Pretoria. And then the second leg came in Pretoria in front of our own people and we couldn’t let them down , where we pushed… So I’m very proud of this group. I’m proud that this group has brought this football club to where it is today.”

Mokwena also pointed out that Sundowns, despite their massive amount of games also due to the addition of the African Football League, have marched on in the DStv Premiership, while last year’s CAFCL runners-up Wydad Athletic Club and to an extend Al Ahly have struggled a bit domestically.

“Even as you say amongst the number of games that we’ve played, I’m proud of the group, the success they’ve had in the domestic competitions,” he continued.

“I only have to look at where Al Ahly is in their domestic competition. You only have to look where Wydad is in their domestic competitions.

“And so this is testament to what this group has done, back-to-back leagues titles, back-to-back finishing on top, back-to-back semifinals. They deserve a bit more credits than what they get.”

iDiski Times
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