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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Modiba determined to make amends as Sundowns start Champions League campaign

'That game hurt us deeply ... how we were knocked out of the Champions League,' he said to Phakaaathi.

Mamelodi Sundowns are out to mend last season’s heart-breaking Caf Champions League exit after coming within touching distance of a shot a glory, only to be denied by a resilient Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals.

The South African champions are in unfamiliar territory, playing little known Burundian top-flight champions Bumamuru in a two-legged match of the final qualifying round with the winner advancing to the group stages.

Sundowns made light work of Seychelles outfit La Passe at this stage of the competition last year with a humiliating 15-1 aggregate win.

Their statement win in the preliminary round and their dominance in the group stages counted for nothing at the end of the campaign and defender Aubrey Modiba revealed the pain of missing out on a place in the final.

“That game hurt us deeply … how we were knocked out of the Champions League,” he said to Phakaaathi.

“We didn’t even lose one game but I think we have gained experience now. We will rectify our mistakes because we know where we fell short last season.

“We don’t want to feel that way again and we need to apply ourselves better to make sure we don’t get the same feeling.”

The Brazilians will be expected to steamroll past Bumamuru who are making their Champions League debut. Their previous forays in CAF inter-club competitions started in 2021. It resulted in back-to-back first round exits in the CAF second-tier competition, the Confederation Cup.

“These games are the hard ones and obviously we know the conditions on the continent play a factor as well,” Modiba warned about taking their opponents lightly.

‘Win every game’

“When you play for Sundowns you are expected to win every game whether it’s a small team or friendly game.

“It is the first game of the Champions League and we wouldn’t want to make things difficult for ourselves. It will be a hard game especially against a team that we don’t really know but we have a good technical team that will take care of that by finding clips of their previous games.”

The good news for Sundowns is that striker Peter Shalulile has traveled with the team and is in contention for a place in the starting XI on Friday.

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