CAF Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns aim for revenge against Esperance de Tunis

CAF Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns aim for revenge against Esperance de Tunis

Festus Chuma 10:24 - 20.04.2024

This fixture holds added significance for Sundowns who view it as a chance to seek retribution against Esperance for past encounters.

Mamelodi Sundowns will go head-to-head with  Esperance de Tunis in the 2023/24 CAF Champions League semi-final on Saturday, April 20 at Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi in Rades.

Sundowns sneaked into this stage of the tournament after defeating Tanzania giants Yanga 3-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals.

The Brazilians will be determined to go all the way and win the Champions League for the second time having clinched the trophy in 2016.

This clash not only determines who advances to the coveted finals but also holds the key to securing a spot in next year's highly anticipated Club World Cup. 

With Africa allocated four berths in the expanded tournament, the race is on for Sundowns to make history on multiple fronts.

The backdrop to this showdown is FIFA's ambitious vision of a universal club competition, expanded to include 32 teams and poised to rival the prestige of the UEFA Champions League. 

With Al Ahly's dominance securing two of the last three Champions League titles, a window of opportunity opens for perennial contenders like Sundowns to make their mark on the global stage.

Currently leading the points race for the final African slot at the Club World Cup, Sundowns boast an impressive tally of 98 points in a ranking based on Champions League performances over the past four years. 

However, their fate hangs in the balance, with Esperance trailing closely behind at 90 points.

Coach Rulani Mokwena faces a crucial test as he navigates through potential setbacks, with influential midfielder Teboho Mokoena's availability hanging in the balance. 

Mokoena's recent stellar performance, punctuated by a sublime long-range goal, underscores his pivotal role in Sundowns' quest for continental glory.

Despite Mokoena's injury concerns, Mokwena can draw confidence from the depth of talent at his disposal, with players like Sipho Mbule, Bathusi Aubaas, Sammy Seabi, Junior Mendieta, and Rivaldo Coetzee ready to step up in central midfield.

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