Sundowns have been strong this season once again and many have tipped them to win the competition, having crushed record winners Al Ahly 5-2 in match day four of the group stages. Following that huge win, Sundowns reached the quarter-final stages with two games to spare and also became the first side ever to beat Ahly by five goals on two separate occasions.
Based on the way they have performed, Sundowns are considered one of the favourites to win their second star on their crest this term. However, Mokwena stops short of claiming the favourite tag, saying that they must work hard for it since there are other top teams in the knockout stages. Sundowns will complete the group stages when they host CotonSport at Loftus Stadium on Saturday (21:00), looking to cement their top spot in Group B.
Mokwena’s Belief in the Team
“We have the capacity for sure to win the Champions League,” said Mokwena, who was Mosimane’s assistant coach in 2016 when they won the Champions League. “If we don’t have the belief, then I shouldn’t coach Sundowns. We have very, very good players and we have players that have the ambition to be in that space.”
Mokwena’s Cautionary Note
Mokwena, however, cautioned that it would not be easy to win the Champions League, even though Sundowns are among the favourites. He pointed out the quality of the teams that are in the quarter-finals, including Raja Casablanca, who haven’t won the Champions League since 1999. He also noted that teams like Al Ahly and Wydad have been trying to win the Champions League, competing and working towards that space for many decades.
Working Hard for Victory
Mokwena believes that Sundowns have no God-given rights to consider themselves favourites and that they must work hard to achieve their goal. “That shows you that we have no God-given rights to consider ourselves favourites, to consider ourselves as the team that can get the Champions League by just pitching up for matches, we have to work very hard for it,” he said.
Not an Obsession, but an Ambition
While winning the Champions League is the number one goal for Sundowns, Mokwena emphasizes that it is not an obsession for the team.
“At the same time, this is a message I said to the players the ambition to win the Champions League is not an obsession,” he said. “It is the same ambition that comes from a space where we want to win the league title, for example. It is a dream that we hope soon rather later we can turn into a reality.”
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is focused on working hard to win the CAF Champions League, rather than obsessing over it. Despite being among the favourites to win the tournament, Mokwena cautions that it will not be easy, and that Sundowns must work hard to achieve their goal. With their strong performance this season, Sundowns has