There is quite a lot of panic among Mamelodi Sundowns supporters, and the players to some extent, but head coach Pitso Mosimane is not losing sleep over the possibility of Bafana Ba Style failing to qualify for the Caf Champions League, if they happen to finish outside of the top two in the Absa Premiership for the first time since 2013.
As it stands, Downs are in third, behind Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and if it were to finish this way and Sundowns do not win this season’s Champions League, they will be left out in the cold and will have to play in the second tier of African football inter-club competition, the less-fancied Caf Confederation Cup.
However, Mosimane says he won’t mind playing in the Confederation Cup, as some of the biggest teams on the continent did compete and did well in the competition at times when they failed to qualify for the premium tournament. Egyptian side Zamalek are the current holders of the Confederation Cup, while their rivals, Al-Ahly – who have an appointment with Sundowns in the Champions League quarterfinal – also made an appearance in 2014, where they went on to win it.
Congolese and five-time Champions League winners, TP Mazembe, failed to qualify for the Champions League two years in a row in 2016 and 2017 and they went on to claim the second tier cup on both occasions, with the second happening in the capital city against Masandawana’s rivals SuperSport United. With all these teams having swallowed their pride and represented the badge, “Jingles” says there is no shame in playing in the African version of Uefa’s Europa League.
“We can play in the Confederation Cup, TP Mazembe played in the final against SuperSport United and they won it. Mazembe celebrated it, look up for their pictures on the podium. So if we also win it we will be happy. It is an easier tournament and it is not as strong as the Champions League.
“In Europe, people don’t want to play on a Thursday, they want to play on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is like that even here, the Confederation Cup games are on Sundays when people go to church,” said Mosimane, whose side will be in the hunt for three points tomorrow night against Bloemfontein Celtic at Loftus Versfeld.