Our football scribe previews the enticing CAF Super Cup clash between Sundowns and TP Mazembe.
African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns and TP Mazembe, lock horns in Pretoria in one of the biggest club competitions in the continent. The 2017 CAF Super Cup is a tie between the winners of the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup.
Sundowns have played TP Mazembe four times, with the Chloorkop-based side winning on two occasions – both at their own turf. The Congolese giants will be no pushovers and could give Downs a run for their money. Speaking of money, the winner of this match will be awarded with a cheque of R1.3 million. Downs have beaten the Bucs, now it’s time for them to earn the bucks!
CAF Super Cup | Saturday 18 February | Loftus Versfeld Stadium | 19:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Mamelodi Sundowns 12/10 | Draw 22/10 | TP Mazembe 22/10
After a terrific CAF Champions League campaign, African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, travelled to Japan to represent our beloved continent at the FIFA Club World Cup. It didn’t go according to plan and Pitso Mosimane’s men came home disappointed after losing both their matches played.
Since then, the Brazilians have been absolutely brilliant. Mosimane’s side have kept three consecutive clean sheets in two 1-0 wins over Baroka FC and Bloemfontein Celtic, not to mention their 6-0 annihilation over Orlando Pirates last weekend. That should prove just how much other teams should fear Sundowns right now.
Before Sundowns’ match against Pirates, Mosimane said that he will use that clash as a preparation fixture before they take on TP Mazembe.“I am using the Pirates game to get ready for the Super Cup,” said Mosimane. So if that was just preparation, what should we expect from Sundowns this time around?
The Chloorkop-based outfit will be looking to make it three wins in a row against TP Mazembe in South Africa. And one thing is for sure, there will be no showboating in the game if Downs were to be in a comfortable position in the match.
Pitso says he understands that skill and flair are part of South African football, but says it should not be part of the game and that opponents should be respected. “I am always against it. I don’t like it,” he said.
I disagree with Mosimane and I think the boys should go out there and do their thing. However, the tie against TP Mazembe will be much tougher than their clash against Pirates last weekend, so showboating from the Brazilians would be too much to ask for.
Sundowns showed that they’re still just as strong without Keagan Dolly since his departure to French outfit, Montpellier. Players like Percy Tau, Thapelo Morena and Khama Billiat have been deadly going forward. Mosimane’s side can hurt any team when they’re in the mood. If Sundowns get the ball rolling from the get-go, it could be one-way traffic for the CAF Champions League winners.
Three-time Super Cup winners, TP Mazembe, come into this clash off a long break, kicking a ball in a professional match for the last time on December 12, 2016. The Ravens currently lead the Congolese Super Ligue on goal difference and have won five of their last six matches.
They did, however, suffer defeat in their last game before the break, going down 2-1 at home against Sanga Balende. Thierry Froger’ side will be wary of the threat that Sundowns pose, especially knowing that they haven’t beaten the Brazilians in Pretoria in both meetings played.
TP Mazembe won the CAF Confederations Cup by beating Algerian side, MO Bejaia, 5-2 on aggregate after an impressive 4-1 victory on their turf. The Ravens will be looking to claim their fourth CAF Super Cup since 2010, also winning in 2011 and 2016.
One downfall for the Congolese outfit is that they will face Sundowns in their own backyard, knowing that the South African champions boast a superb home record, winning five on the trot. Experience in major African tournaments could be the decisive factor for TP Mazembe.
The Ravens have lost a number of key players in the last transfer window, but Froger will be hoping that doesn’t deter his side from obtaining their main objective.
Verdict: Mamelodi Sundowns (12/10)
Mamelodi Sundowns boast an excellent record at home, not to mention the superb run of form that they are enduring. It will definitely be a cagey affair, but Pitso’s charges are tipped to come out on top. Downs already have the gold star to show what they’re all about so a first CAF Super Cup could be on the cards for the South African champions.
Written by Jesse Nagel @Hollywoodbets