Downs can hold their heads high

Premiership

Mamelodi Sundowns may have been knocked out of the CAF Champions League, but there are quite a few positives that they can take from this season’s campaign and build on for the next one.

Pitso Mosimane’s men reached the semifinals of the competition for the second time under his tutelage, missing out on reaching the final following a goalless draw at home to Wydad Casablanca, after losing the first leg in Rabat 2-1.

KickOff.com looks at the positives and negatives from their campaign.

Positives

- Sundowns were ruthless in front of goal throughout the competition. Pitso Mosimane’s men scored 11 goals in four preliminary stage matches, as they booked themselves a spot in the group stages. Come the round robin phase, the reigning South African champions scored nine goals in six matches. In the knockout stages, they scored six goals in four matches. In total, they scored 26 goals in the competition.

- Players such as Lebohang Maboe, Mosa Lebusa and Lyle Lakay got a chance to play in the Champions League, getting good exposure on the tournament. For Maboe it has been great because he was been able to break into the Bafana Bafana team and use the experience on the continent with his club in the national team.

- Despite all the traveling on the continent, Sundowns have been able to keep themselves in the race for the Absa Premiership title, as they look to defend the title for the first time under Mosimane’s guidance. They have a chance of finishing the season with a trophy in the cabinet.

- Themba Zwane’s performances in the CAF Champions were impressive and it should give him the confidence he needs ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt next month. He was the top scoring player in the group stages with four goals and six throughout the competition.

- Before their goalless draw with Wydad on Saturday, Sundowns had scored in all their home matches. Of the 26 goals they scored through the campaign, 22 were netted on home soil. 

- In seven home matches this season, Sundowns kept four clean sheets. They were usually solid when playing in front of their supporters.

Negatives

- Away matches for Sundowns have not been too great. In fact, Mosimane’s men registered just one victory against Leones Vegeterianos in the preliminary round. While many coaches would not see this as an issue, especially because home matches are where teams bank on winning two-legged matches, Sundowns would certainly love to better their away record. They lost four times away from home, and drew twice.

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