Mamelodi Sundowns' Tiyani Mabunda sympathises with ES Setif following CAF Champions League exit
Posted: 28 June 2016 Time: 12:43
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Tiyani Mabunda has sympathy for the players of ES Setif following their disqualification from the 2016 CAF Champions League group stage.
CAF last week announced their decision to expel the Algerian side from the tournament following the unruly behaviour of their fans, which saw their match against The Brazilians a fortnight ago end prematurely due to fears for the match officials and players’ safety.
The ruling means Sundowns lose their points obtained in their match in Setif, while Group B has since been reduced to just three teams, with Enyimba and Egyptian giants Zamalek completing the group.
Mabunda feels the judgement may have been a bit harsh on their rivals, and says he hopes such scenes don’t repeat themselves as it stains the image of the game as well as that of the continent as a whole.
“I think [the ruling] is unfair because now the players have to suffer for what the fans did,” says Mabunda. “The players have now been eliminated from the competition because of the actions the fans took to express their frustrations onto the field.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again because it’s a bad sign of African football to the rest of the world, whereby if team’s aren’t winning then fans have to retaliate.”
The resurgent 28-year-old, who’s only just beginning to make a name for himself at Chloorkop despite being on the club’s books since arriving from Black Leopards in 2013, adds that the team need to focus on fulfilling their mandate of “going all the way”, starting with their next fixture at home against Enyimba on Wednesday evening.
“On our side, we just have to continue with our mandate from the coach to go all the way [in the competition],” he adds.
“I think when you look at our record of games in the CAF competitions, we haven’t lost a game at home so I’d say playing at home is our advantage. The win we got [against Setif] was the first one we got away from home.
“At home we’ve done quite well; we’ve been doing what the coach has asked us to do, and maximum points is the ultimate target for us.”
The match is scheduled to kick off at 19h00 at the Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.