Feature: A brief history of South African clubs in Caf finals

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Goal takes at look at how South African clubs have fared in the two biggest Caf inter-club competitions finals in the past

What do Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates all have in common? They have all reached the final of a Caf inter-club competition before.

But on Sunday afternoon, SuperSport United will be the latest to join Africa football’s elite as they take on defending champions TP Mazembe in the Caf Confederation Cup final.

The two-legged affair promises to be an epic battle between two of the continent’s most exciting sides, but while Mazmebe have history and continental pedigree on their side, Matsatsantsa will need to rely on their enthusiasm and a will to win to overcome the Congolese-based outfit.

Nonetheless, ahead of the SuperSport’s maiden African Cup final voyage, Goal looks at the history of South African clubs in Caf finals to gauge whether SuperSport should be optimistic or not going into the final.

SA clubs in Caf finals PS

When it comes to Caf finals, South African clubs have participated in six previous finals. Four of those finals have come in the Caf Champions League, while South African clubs reached the second-tier competition, the Confederation Cup on three separate occasions.

But when it comes to reaching continental finals, there is none more successful than the Buccaneers. After lifting the Caf Champions League in 1995 with victory over Ivory Coast’s ASEC Mimosas, they have gone on to reach two more finals which include a Confederation Cup final berth in 2015, and what should be noted is that during both those finals, the current SuperSport had honcho, Eric Tinkler had a significant role to play.

Roger De Sa and Eric Tinkler

In 2013, Tinkler was Roger de Sa’s second in command when Pirates went on to lose to Al Ahly in the final of the Caf Champions League, but he, himself, would have his moment in the sun a few years later as he guided the Sea Robbers to the Confederation Cup final, before again falling at the last hurdle against Tunisia’s Etoile Du Sahel.

The record for Tinkler in continental Cup finals doesn’t give fans much encouragement, but it should also be understood that South African clubs have not exactly thrived in the Confederation Cup in particular.

While Mamelodi Sundowns earned their inaugural star in last year’s Champions League, making it the second time a South African club has gone on to lift the continent’s most prestigious prize, the Confederation Cup has only been lifted once before and interestingly at the time it did not go under its current name.  

Patrick Mabedi, former Kaizer Chiefs captain

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Kaizer Chiefs are the last and only side to lift the then Cup Winners Cup trophy back in 2001 as they defeated Angola’s Grupo Desportivo Interclube in the final.

That would be the only other continental success aside from the Champions League triumphs and two Super Cup trophies, and to emphasise the strength of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) at the time, Mamelodi Sundowns reached the the Champions League final of that same year but were defeated by none other than Al Ahly.

Nevertheless, going into the final this time around, Eric Tinkler’s men don’t only have an opportunity to win something big but have the potential to write their names among some of the continent’s great should they fend off Mazembe.

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