Sundowns not favourites for Champions League says coach

football03 January 2024 12:30| © Mzansi Football
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Rulani Mokwena © Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is warning that players and supporters must not be lured into a false sense of security by the poor form of his club’s traditional protagonists in the African Champions League.

While Sundowns sit top of their table in this season’s group phase, and can effectively book their place if they win the next game, old nemesis Wydad Casablanca are bottom of their group while holders Al Ahly are also far from comfortable in their group.

It suggests that after years of coming close but not making it to the final, this might be the season for Sundowns to finally dominate the continent’s top club competition.

But Mokwena is cautious about any bold predictions and says past history suggests never to take anything for granted in the Champions League.

“It's not the name of the team. It's the performances on the day,” the Sundowns boss told

“There's so many things that ride on the result. The result can belong to anybody. Do not forget how many times football has taught the story of it's not really how you start but how you really end.”

Mokwena was referring to the two previous Champions League campaign where Sundowns were hot favourites after their performances in the group matches but then botched it in the knockout round.

“At this point in time in the Champions League last season, Al Ahly were written off, but they qualified with the last game to go. And then what happened next? They went on to win the Champions League.

“In front of our owns eyes, the Spanish national team lost their first group stage game (at the 2010 World Cup),” Mokwena continued.

“And what happened, they went on to win the World Cup. Argentina … first game in last World Cup lost but went onto win the World Cup.”

Sundown will resume their Champions League campaign in late February with two matches left to play in their group. They have seven points from their opening four matches, winning away in Egypt against Pyramids in their last match.