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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Sundowns coach Mokwena positive of Champions League glory

Sundowns are already in the quarter-final of Africa’s coveted club competition.

Perhaps winning the African Football League (AFL) was Mamelodi Sundowns‘ first warning shot to their rivals that they are ready to once again capture the big fish that has eluded them since 2016.

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Claiming the inaugural AFL competition last year was a step in the right direction in the Brazilians’ quest for continental dominance but the Champions League remains their main priority.

Sundowns are already in the quarter-finals of Africa’s coveted club competition but they still have a score to settle against five-time Champions League winner TP Mazembe whom they play at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

The winner of the much-anticipated clash will top Group A and be seeded in the next round of the knockout phase. Mazembe narrowly beat Sundowns 1-0 the last time the teams met.

“I think if we still have to send a message then there’s something wrong. It’s the same thing I get asked about Peter Shalulile and if I’m worried about him but I’m not because Peter has proven that he will score goals,” Mokwena answered when asked if they have a point to prove against Mazembe.

“Sundowns have proven that they are one of the best teams on the continent and we will win the champions league. Eventually we will win it. What we have to do is to make sure that our performances are good enough, we’re consistent and we work hard every single day to put ourselves in that position and that’s what we can concentrate on and control.”

Mokwena is well aware that his side are seen as favourites for this year’s title after the success in the AFL.

“What it does give you is a target on your back. I speak to the players about this all the time,” he said.

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“I saw Thapelo Maseko put up a status on WhatsApp and he said that he doesn’t believe what he had just done. I screenshot and saved it because sometimes players don’t realise that blessings and burdens are cousins.

“The blessing of having won the AFL comes with the burden and responsibility of having to carry this target on your back all the time where everyone wants to beat you. It’s the same in Mazembe, when we walked off the pitch you could sense a very strong feeling that they had done it.”

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