Brian Mandela's Sundowns finish CAF Champions League group stage in style with win over TP Mazembe

STARS ABROAD Brian Mandela's Sundowns finish CAF Champions League group stage in style with win over TP Mazembe

Mark Kinyanjui 22:18 - 02.03.2024

Mandela, who Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has described as "a special human being" watched from the bench as the South African giants beat TP Mazembe on Saturday.

Harambee Stars defender Brian Mandela watched from the bench as Mamelodi Sundowns had enough about themselves to overcome TP Mazembe and secure their status as Group A winners of the 2023/2024 CAF Champions League.

Mandela has not started for Sundowns since their 2-0 win over  Supersport United last December, and played a very peripheral role, making just seven appearances in all competitions this season.

A Peter Shaulile penalty in the 38th minute was enough to give Sundowns all the three points to get them to finish on 13 points, while Mazembe are on 10 points.

In the last two seasons, the Kenyan international has played 22 games across all competitions for the Brazilians, but head coach Rulani Mokwena was waxlyrical of him recently, praising his strong mentality after suffering a career-threatening knee injury in 2019 just before Kenya took part at the 2019 AFCON.

“Brian is a special breed. For Brian to be playing football [those +20 games], he’s defying logic,” said Mokwena as quoted on  Far Post.

“I mean, when he had a very serious injury to his knee, from a psychological perspective, he should have stopped playing football. 

“So, for the fact that Brian has played +20 games for Sundowns and he trains the way he trains and has the attitude that he has, he’s an unbelievable human being and very special.”

Mokwena further stated that Onyango’s presence in the changing room plays a huge role, given his leadership qualities. 

“His leadership in the change room is so important. We are also fortunate that we have so many captains in our team. 

“We have Rowen Williams who’s the captain for Bafana, Brian who’s the national team captain for Kenya, Peter who’s a national team captain for Namibia, and Mothobi Mvala who was a captain at Highlands Park, I can go on and on,” he added. 

“Despite Brian, we have got far too many people who have defied the odds and continue to grow and improve. I think as a football club, we are very lucky to have some characters and personalities that we have in our team.” 

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