Downs must travel far to slay foes

Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The CAF Champions League draw looks relatively easy for Mamelodi Sundowns, but trips to Guinea and Togo could make it tough.

While most of the focus following Wednesday’s draw in Cairo has been on the clash against defending champions Wydad Casablanca, Sundowns face a potential banana skin in Horoya AC and AS Togo-Port.

Pitso Mosimane is well aware of the possible pitfalls ahead, particularly the long trips to west Africa.

The draw gave Sundowns a chance to settle a score with the reigning champions who dethroned them in the quarter-finals last year.

Sundowns will begin their journey at home against the Moroccans before back-to-back trips to Guinea and Togo in May and July, respectively.

While the timing of the first trip to Guinea will suit the Brazilians as they will still be active in the domestic league, their second one to Togo will come immediately after the Fifa Club World Cup qualifiers in July.

Sundowns players will have to cut short their off-season break to prepare for the second half of the group stages.

Depending on how they fare in the Absa Premiership and the Nedbank Cup, their trip to Guinea might also disrupt their domestic programmes.

Mosimane was quoted by CAF as saying that it was a fair draw.

“You can’t ask for less, you can’t ask for more. It is the top 16 and you take whatever comes. With regards to Wydad, both of us are not sure of each other. We beat them at home [1-0] and they also beat us [1-0], and they won on penalties and went on to win the title. Both teams want to know who is better. They are the current champions and we have also won [the Champions League] before, so it will be interesting to play against them.

“Horoya play good football with great passing techniques. They are a tactical team and have some good individual players. The team we don’t know much about is AS Togo-Port and we will have to conduct research on them,” he said.

The two champions – former and current – are expected to advance from this group, but it won’t be smooth sailing for Sundowns and Casablanca.

SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits have tricky assignments against Kenya’s Gor Mahia and Enyimba FC in the CAF Confederation Cup play-offs.

United, last year’s losing finalist, will travel to Kenya to lock horns with Gor Mahia for a place in the group stages.

After dropping down to the Confederation Cup, Wits will also try to redeem themselves at the expense of Enyimba with a place in the group stages up for grabs.

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