This weekend will see Mamelodi Sundowns either take a step closer to Patrice Motsepe’s dream of making them one of the best on the continent, or disappoint.
The margins are so close that it’s scary.
Motsepe made no secret of what his intentions were when he acquired full ownership of the club in 2004.
His acquisition of the club thrust him into the elite club of soccer bosses such as Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung, Orlando Pirates and PSL Il Capo Irvin Khoza and Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono.
Sundowns winning the Champions League, would further elevate Motsepe into the midst of the likes of Moise Katumbi, the boss of continental giants TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo who have won this title several times and have even competed in the FIFA Club World Cup.
So it is clear that to endear himself not only to Motsepe but the entire nation, coach Pitso Mosimane has his job well cut out for him, winning the continent’s highest prize.
Motsepe and Mosimane have already pointed out that coming second is not good enough as no one ever remembers runners up.
Their take is on line with the words of the greatest ever Liverpool manager, Bill Shankly, who said: “When you are first you are first; when you are second you are nothing.”
For Mosimane, winning the CAF Champions League title in the final that starts with a first leg against Egyptian giants Zamalek at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday and culminates with the second leg next Sunday in Egypt, will also atone for the 3-1 loss against Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 final last week.
Sundowns supporters were least bothered by this loss or the fact that their club only boast a single point this season.
'Downs are sitting just one position above bottom-placed Bloemfontein Celtic but have only played one match as compared to the four played by most clubs higher up on the log.
Mosimane has delivered on most mandates, already winning the league twice already notching several domestic cups in his four years with the Tshwane side.
The only thing missing is the continental top prize.
Does Mosimane have what it takes to bring the beacon home? The answer is in the affirmative. Do Sundowns have players who can beat Zamalek and get South Africa their second star, following the one born by Orlando Pirates after their victory way back in 1995? Given that they beat Zamalek twice in the Group Stages of the competition, it is still possible that they emerge victorious.
Much as the word therefore is the least operative in football, Sundowns have their fate in their hands and they can do it not only for their supporters but the country at large.
All we can do on this platform is to wish them good luck as they will be representing the country when they troop out against Zamalek.
S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.
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