Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach, Manqoba Mngqithi admitsthey will not have an easy journey in the upcoming TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.
Sudnowns have been drawn against their former coach, Pitso Mosimane in a strong Group A which will also include the Sudanese duo of Al Hilal and Al-Merrikh.
Mosimane, now with Al Ahly with whom he has won two Champions League titles, led Sundowns to their only continental victory in 2016 and a second re-union with the celebrated coach will be one of the anticipated highlights in the group.
Sundowns begin their campaign at home against Al Hilal on February 11 and notwithstanding the anticipated re-union with Mosimane, the reigning South African champions are ready to battle.
“The teams that we are going to play against are all well coached. Al Ahly is the biggest team in Africa. Al Hilal, one of the most formidable teams in the Champions League, always in the group (stages), always pushing for the quarter finals,” the tactician stated.
He added; “It’s always very difficult to play against them. We understand fully well what we have to expect.”
Sundowns were eliminated by Mosimane’s side in the quarter finals of the last edition of the competition after a 3-1 aggregate win by the Egyptian side.
“My impressions on the draw will always be difficult to comprehend because one, once you get to the last 16, it’s always difficult to make a choice as to who you would want to play against. And all of the teams that are there are probably 75 if not more than 90% of them have won the Champions League before, so there’s no chance of avoiding anyone.”
“We just have to solider on, give it our best shot and understand that at this stage of the competition everybody who’s here is looking to win it, so just garner yourself up and focus on making sure your team is strong enough to be able to compete until the end,” the tactician further explained.
He is however optimistic that especially after a strong start to their domestic season in South Africa, they have what it takes to compete for the top.