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South Africa clubs switch to continental cups

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South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Platinum Stars will take a breather from their hectic domestic schedule this weekend to focus on the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup, respectively.

Sundowns host Ethiopian side, Saint George, in the opening fixture of their Champions League group stage today while cross-town rivals, Supersport, welcome Horoya of Guinea in the second-tier Confederation Cup.

Still in South Africa, Robert Ngámbi’s Stars will be hoping to continue their dream campaign when they welcome MC Alger of Algeria at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg tomorrow in the same competition.

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The debutants made a historic comeback to secure their spot in Group B when they reversed a 2-0 deficit to overcome AS Tanda of Cote d’Ivoire 5-4 on post-match penalties last month.

A win for Stars will certainly boost their progression hopes with even tougher fixtures against former champions, CS Sfaxien and Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows yet to take place.

Still in South Africa, Sundowns Coach, Pitso Mosimane, recently admitted that the club has not done well domestically following their exceptional run last season. The outspoken coach recently came under fire from his title chasing counterparts after playing down the importance of local titles.

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“Rather than winning the league and Nedbank Cup (South African FA Cup), I would rather win

the Caf Champions League and Caf Super Cup. Domestically, we might not win anything but we can go to the Fifa Club World Cup in December, that for me is history for Sundowns,” Mosimane said.

Sundowns have been drawn in Group C which boasts two previous continental champions in AS Vita of DR Congo and Tunisia’s Esperance.

“It is going to be very tough. In fact, it will be even tougher considering the fact that most clubs know who Sundowns is. We have the experience now and know what is needed to get positive results out of such matches. We have the quality and depth and will take it one game at a time – just as we did last year,” said Mosimane, who guided Sundowns to win the premier continental club championship last year.

Cross town rivals, SuperSport on the other hand go into their clash against Horoya beaming with confidence after denting Cape Town City’s title ambitions with a 4-2 win at home on Tuesday night.

The club from the nation’s capital will not let the imminent departure of Scottish man, Stuart Baxter, to deter their focus.

Baxter was recently recalled to fill the vacant South Africa coaching post following the dismissal of Shakes Mashaba last year.

A victory for SuperSport will be a major confidence booster with tough encounters against powerhouse TP Mazembe and CF Mounana of Gabon also on the cards.—Cafonline.com

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