Mamelodi Sundowns Striker Cassius Mailula Reflects on Emotional CAF Champions League Exit
Mamelodi Sundowns’ young striker, Cassius Mailula, has opened up about his emotional response following their elimination from the CAF Champions League at the hands of Wydad Athletic Club. The 21-year-old has been a standout performer this season, impressively scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances during his debut campaign.
After the final whistle blew in their 2-2 draw against Wydad Athletic Club, Mailula couldn’t hold back his tears and had to be comforted by several teammates. The heartbreaking result meant that Masandawana’s CAF Champions League journey came to an end.
Mailula admitted that he had dreamed of lifting the trophy ever since witnessing the club’s triumph in 2016, which marked their first CAFCL title. However, he was unaware that the knockout stages of CAF competitions still employ the away goals rule as a tiebreaker, and he expected the game to go into extra time.
“I think I was too emotional,” Mailula shared in an interview with Robert Marawa on MSW. “From day one, I knew that this is what I wanted, the dream I always had. Winning the CAF Champions League is something I aspired to achieve.”
He expressed his desire to reach the final and lift the trophy in his first season with the first team, alongside Themba Zwane, a player he looks up to. However, Mailula remains optimistic, believing that he has gained valuable experience from the competition.
“I don’t think I lost in that game; I think it was a very expensive experience. You can’t buy this experience. It was really tough to experience such pain, and it took me some time to actually realize that we’re actually out,” Mailula reflected.
The young striker revealed that it took him 48 hours to fully come to terms with the disappointment. Support from his mother and coach played a significant role in helping him accept the outcome.
“It hasn’t been easy, but thanks to the coach [Mokwena] and other coaches who called me to check on me and my teammates, and to tell me that ‘it’s not over, such things happen. You’re still young, you still have time to showcase your talent and win more trophies.'”
While the elimination was a tough blow for Mailula, he remains resilient and determined to continue growing as a player. His experience in the CAF Champions League will undoubtedly shape his future performances and fuel his hunger for success.