CAF: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Wydad Casablanca Preview


Newly-crowned Absa Premiership champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, prepare to conquer Africa for the second time in their history when they host Wydad Casablanca. For Sundowns, it will be a shot at revenge against Wydad, who knocked them out of the CAF Champions League last year in the quarter-finals.


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 At the time, the Brazilians were champions. Now, it’s the Moroccans who are kings of Africa. Sundowns have been well above the rest in South Africa, now it’s time to prove themselves on the biggest stage in Africa.

CAF Champions League 
Saturday 5 May
Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium 
21:00

To Win 
Mamelodi Sundowns 19/20
Draw 2/1
Wydad Casablanca 33/10


Mamelodi Sundowns

Sundowns begin their quest for another gold star on top of their badge when they kick-start their CAF Champions League group stage campaign with a tie against African champions, Wydad Casablanca.

All season, Pitso Mosimane has went on about how talented his team are, and we’ve seen how true that really is, but this is the real test. We know that the ‘Sky is the Limit’ for Downs, but it’s games like these that will determine how high the sky is off the ground.

Reacting to his side’s draw in the group stages, Mosimane stated that he was ready for any challenge ahead.

“It is a fair draw… You can’t ask for less; you can’t ask for more. It is the top 16 and you take whatever comes. With regards to Wydad, both of us are not sure of each other. We beat them at home and they also beat us. They won on penalties and went on to win the title. Both teams want to know who is better. They are the current champions and we have also won it before… It will be interesting to play them,” he said.

Last weekend, Sundowns were crowned champions of South Africa, winning the league in emphatic style. The Brazilians were dominant from the get-go in the season, and they will need to carry some consistency into the Champions League.

Mosimane has plenty of players to call upon if his side are in trouble, but none with the leadership skills like Hlompho Kekana. After achieving his third league title with the club, ‘Jingles’ was full of praise for his captain.

“We got a strong captain (Kekana) in the team who leads them in the pitch. He has won the Champions League, he’s been everywhere. These guys are very good, they know how to deal with this (pressure),” he said.

Further up the pitch, Downs have the talented Percy Tau to call upon, as well as the likes of Sibusiso Vilakazi, Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino. That front four has proved lethal in Mzansi, and know how to ensure results for Masandawana.

Wydad Casablanca

The reigning champions have a massive task ahead when they travel to Pretoria to face one of the continent’s fiercest teams in Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Moroccan Red Devils will fancy their chances of progressing through the group, and know that if they make it out of this fixture unscathed, they’re likely to advance to the knockout stages. However, their record away from home in the Champions League leaves a lot to be desired.

They’re winless in their last four continental outings, and in that run, came a 1-0 defeat to Sundowns. Wydad are currently out of the CAF spots in their domestic league, so they will need to come out guns blazing and win the tournament for a third time in their history if they are to guarantee themselves in the competition the following year.

Wydad are a team fast on the counter, and very useful in possession. Their danger men come from either flank, with Ismail El Haddad on the left, while Amin Tighazoui comes at you from the right.

The 2017 Club of the Year will be well-aware of the threat that Sundowns pose, and coach Faouzi Benzarti will be looking to make sure his team are not on the losing side again.

Verdict: Mamelodi Sundowns (19/20)
The South African champions look unstoppable at the moment. Even when the Brazilians go a goal down, they stick to their usual tactics and do not panic. With the front four of Sirino, Tau, Zwane and Vilakazi, Downs make football looks so easy. Back them here to claim a much-needed victory.


Written by  Jesse Nagel

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