SSU take over the baton from Downs

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Sundowns saw their CAF title defence end with a 3-2 loss on penalties to Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in Rabat last weekend after two legs produced a 1-1 stalemate.

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Coming unstuck in the quarter-finals by the slimmest of margins stings, particularly as Pitso Mosimane's side sought to become the first South African club to claim two stars and eclipse the efforts of Orlando Pirates' 1995 triumph.

Had they retained the trophy they would have also rubbed shoulders with Emperors of Africa Al-Ahly, TP Mazembe and Enyimba.

Mosimane's men can, nevertheless, take heart from building on Pirates' exploits and making African football a priority again at the southern tip of the continent.

Bucs blazed the trail 22 years ago, with Bafana Bafana arguably reaping the benefits with AFCON glory on home soil the following year.

The Brazilians nearly emulated the Sea Robbers when they reached the Champions League final in 2001, succumbing to Egypt's Al-Ahly.

Pirates revived the charge but fell at the last hurdle against the same foe in 2013, and again two years later in the final of the second-tier Confederation Cup at the hands of Etoile du Sahel.

The ambitious Mosimane, with support from Downs owner Patrice Motsepe, finally got the job done last year at the expense of Zamalek, and since then shining in Africa is on the agenda of any self-respecting PSL giant.

One wonders whether SuperSport would have soldiered their way to a Confederation Cup semi-final date with Club Africain on Saturday had their Tshwane rivals and Bucs fallen prey to a parochial mentality - a criticism that has been levelled at Premiership champions Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs in recent years.

Hypotheticals aside, Matsatsantsa now carry the country's hopes with coach Eric Tinkler looking to make his continental experience with ex-employers Pirates count against their Tunisian opponents at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

While Tinkler once quipped Mosimane talks too much, he will be the first to concede 'Jingles' walks the walk and has inspired belief that success is attainable beyond our borders, and more importantly should be pursued.

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