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CAF Champions League

Sundowns Coach Reacts To CAFCL Group Draw

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says the ‘biggest’ challenge of their CAF Champions League group stage will be travelling to Sudan.

Sundowns were pitted against their former manager Pitso Mosimane who’s in charge of the reigning champions Al Ahly – who also knocked them out of the competition last season.

Sudanese giantsAl Merrikh and Al Hilal complete Group A in what is expected to be a mouth-watering contest to qualify for the knockout stage of Africa’s elite club competition.

“My impression of the draw will always be the most difficult to comprehend because one; once you get into the last-16 it’s always difficult to make a choice as to who you would want to play against,” Mngqithi said.

“All of the teams that are there are probably 75 if not 90% of them have won the Champions League before, so there’s no chance of avoiding anyone. 

“You just have to solider on, give it our best shot and understand that at this stage of the competition everybody who’s here is looking to win it, so just garner yourself up and focus on making sure your team is strong enough to be able to compete until the end.”

“The only challenge in the group is that it involves extensive travelling to Sudan, that’s where our biggest challenge might be,” he continued when discussing the strength of the competition this season.

“But you cannot ask for any other team in the Champions League because if you look at all the other groups, you will realise all of them have stiff competition. Otherwise, it’s a group that we’ll fight very hard to pull through. 

“We’re confident as a technical team and players that the group that we have is capable of helping us to go through. But we’ll have to earn it and work very hard because it’s not going to be easy.

“Al Hilal gave us trouble last year, have not played Al Merrikh, Al Ahly has always taken us out of the quarter-finals and that on its own is suggestive of the challenges that we’re going to face.

“These challenges are not only for Sundowns, both teams will be experiencing the same thing – so we just have to go there and give it our best shot.”

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