Almost a clean sweep for SA clubs

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Johannesburg - All but one of the four South African clubs on continental duty scored impressive away wins in their respective matches this past weekend.

And who would have thought that the odd one out would be Mamelodi Sundowns?

The Brazilians went into their CAF Champions League match against Zimbabwe side Chicken Inn on the back of a 19-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

But Mitchell Katsvairo had other ideas as his 36th minute strike ensured that the hosts take a 1-0 lead into the return leg scheduled for Tshwane in a fortnight.

However, given the depth at Sundowns, it should not be a big deal for them to overturn this result.

Club boss Patrice Motsepe has made no bones about his ambitions to conquer the continent since taking over ownership of the mega-rich club.

Pitso Mosimane has also vowed to fulfill his boss' ambitions and in the arsenal that he has assembled he has all the artillery needed to achieve this.

This result should not just be regarded as a minor hiccup, but also a wake-up call that the Tshwane side should not rest on their laurels but continue to be sharp in every match they play.

South Africa's other representatives in this lucrative continental tournament, Kaizer Chiefs, had an easy walk in the park, burying Volcan de Moroni of the Comores in an avalanche of four goals.

An interesting statistic from that match was that central defender Erick Mathoho scored a brace while Bernard Parker and Sula Matovu grabbed a goal apiece.

It did not end there as the two other South African sides Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape Town did quite well in their CAF Confederation Cup outings.

The Students would have felt like they were on holiday as they scored an impressive 3-0 away victory over Lightstars FC in the Seychelles.

After making a U-turn, Ajax made good of their trip to Angola by overcoming Sagrada Esparanca 2-1 with goals by Ruzaig Gamildien and Riyaad Norodien on either side of an Antonio Oliveira strike from the spot.

So it is that this quartet will return to their league assignments this week with their tails high.

But just a word of warning, it is sure going to get tougher the more they progress on their respective competitions.

It is no secret that Southern Africa is one of the weakest regions on the African continent, football-wise.

They are still to come up against clubs from North and Western Africa, which are the strongest regions that have dominated these competitions over the years.

We should also not forget that it is also thanks to Orlando Pirates' glittering performances in the two competitions that South Africa finds itself with four representatives in these competitions.

Besides making the country proud, participating in these competitions will also benefit the clubs as their players will be exposed to different types of football.

They will also learn to adapt to difficult conditions such as travelling long distances, playing on different surfaces and in front of hostile crowds.

This will surely build the players' characters, more especially the younger players, and prepare them for the demands of international football.

Well done to the four!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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