Caf Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns should not only focus on Wydad Casablanca – Mnguni

The former Masandawana skipper is confident the current squad will not have challenges in reaching the knockout stages

Mamelodi Sundowns legend Themba Mnguni expects another tough Caf Champions League campaign for the Brazilians after discovering their next opponents.

The 2016 African champions will renew their rivalry against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, meet with Petro Atletico of Angola and Algeria’s USM Alger in Group C.

‘The Rock’ is confident that scoring 21 goals in this year’s preliminary stages have placed the reigning Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions at an advantage to challenge for their second star.  

“It’s very amazing and sometimes you wouldn’t know how they do the draws but it’s always that big challenge in the group stages where we will play against Wydad,” Mnguni told Goal.

“It’s part of football and we need to face the challenges head-on. It’s a big draw and it will not be easy as always, but we just have to face them and pass that stage and look at qualifying for the knockout stages.

"However, I believe the focus should not be on Wydad alone, the likes of USM Alger and Atletico also deserve respect. All I know about Sundowns is that they always respect their opponents but they have a mission to in the match."

When looking at the two previous rounds against Congo’s AS Otoho d’Oyo, the Tshwane giants lost 2-1 away before netting four at home and Mnguni wants coach Pitso Mosimane’s men to collect as many points in their group.

“We can always say we are losing away from home but we always find that crucial away goal and that will count again. What matters is to collect wins and points as early as possible,” he added.

“To have an advantage, one has to score goals and avoid conceding silly goals. I also bank on the experience, I have faith and confidence in the technical team and the players. I don’t think we will have issues or dilemmas this time around.”

Looking at the record where Masandawana thrashed Cote d’Or of Seychelles 16-1 on aggregate, the former centre-back believes the team can reach the final whilst also expressing delight in the one-legged final.

“Scoring so many goals has sent a message to the opponents that Sundowns mean business,” continued the retired defender.

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“It is a morale booster to have such a massive record in the tournament and that has motivated the guys to have the killer instinct and possibly go all out and chase their second trophy.

“The approach is always to win the game and wherever we play, we respect the opponent but Sundowns have a mission to win. We need to take each game as it comes but ensure we go all out for a win because we have bigger plans as a club.

“I’m glad that the final is played once-off, it’s better that way. I prefer it that way because it’s a final and it has to be a final game of the competition, no second leg match. I think we stand a big chance to go beyond the group stages up until the final.”