Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
31 Dec 2021
3:00 pm

Sundowns gunning for Pitso’s Al Ahly revenge?

Ntokozo Gumede

We believe we have a team that is capable of upsetting all the teams in the group', says Sundowns mentor Manqoba Mngqithi

Paired in Group A of the CAF Champions League, Sundowns will face Al Ahly in a blockbuster clash. Picture: BackpagePix

Manqoba Mngqithi did not want to say it outright but he knows that Mamelodi Sundowns will be gunning for sweet revenge against Al-Ahly in the Caf Champions League group stages. The North and South African giants have been paired in Group A at the back of two seasons where The Red Devils eliminated Masandawana on their way to win their ninth and 10th titles.

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“It is a very interesting group with three winners of the group and the biggest challenge will come with the travelling but you cannot ask for any other team in the Champions League because if you look at the all the other groups, you realise that all of them have got stiff competition,” said Mngqithi.

“We will fight very hard to pull through and we are confident that the group that we have is capable of going through but we will have to earn that and work very hard because it is not going to be easy. Al-Hilal gave us a lot of trouble last season and Al-Ahly have always knocked us out in the last two seasons and that on its own is suggestive of the challenge we are going to face,” he added.

When it comes to the coaching of the opposition, Mngqithi knows best not to take any team for granted, particularly the defending champions who are coached by former Downs head coach Pitso Mosimane.  

“The teams that we are playing against are all well-coached. Al-Ahly are the biggest team in the continent. Al-Hilal are one of the most formidable teams in the Champions League, they are always in the group stages pushing for the quarterfinals. It is always very difficult to play against them and we understand what to expect. We have not played Al-Merreikh but it is the story of Orlando Pirates, Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa. They are part of the big teams.”

Be that as it may, the Sundowns mentor is more than confident that the likes of Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile, Andile Jali, will carry the team through to the knockout stages.  

“We believe that we have a team that is capable of upsetting all the teams in the group but no game is going to be easy, it will demand a lot from the group. I am very confident of the coaches I am working with and the players that we have in the team.”