Mamelodi Sundowns have appointed a new Sporting Director in an effort to dominate continental football for years to come. The world-renowned Danish football official, Flemming Berg, has been charged with connecting operations of the team from development level right up to the first team, including the women’s side.
Sundowns finished top of their group and it was the second time the Pretoria club finished the CAF Champions’ League group stages undefeated. Joining Sundowns in the quarter-finals of the CAF inter-club competitions are Orlando Pirates who also finished top of their group with 13 points from their six group matches in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The 2016 CAF Champions League winners, Sundowns finished top of Group A with 16 points. Sundowns became the first club in the history of the competition to finish the group stages with sixteen points, ahead of Egyptian giants Al Ahly. But North African clubs continue to dominate the CAF inter club competitions. Six of the clubs who have advanced to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League are from North Africa. Only two of the eight clubs are from Southern Africa.
“The idea was that Mamelodi Sundowns is a growing football club, it’s very important that we now start to bring the type of characters to help our football club reach the next level both in terms of our development, making sure that our academy structures are taken care of that there is a methodology and a philosophy that speaks to the South African culture and also protects the culture of our football so that we can go forward and make sure that this is something that continue to grow and is more successful,” says Tlhopie Motsepe, Mamelodi Sundowns chairman.
Mamelodi Sundowns Welcomes Sporting Director – Flemming Berg ?
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— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) April 4, 2022
Meanwhile, the 49-year old Flemming Berg who previously worked for the Danish Football Association and as a scout for English team Chelsea Football club has joined Sundowns as the club’s sporting director. He will work alongside former player and Sundowns’ head of scouting, Esrom Nyandoro.
“I’m very proud of having the opportunity to be part of this fantastic club and taking the position as sporting director here at Mamelodi Sundowns, the history and culture is in many ways overwhelming when you read about everything that has gone on here both in this country and in this club and in general, it is very inspiring,” says Flemming Berg, new Mamelodi Sundowns sporting director.
The CAF Confederation Cup has also reached the quarter-final stage. And five of the eight teams are from North Africa. Orlando Pirates who qualified top of Group B have been joined in the last eight by TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Simba FC of Tanzania.
“The history of Pirates in CAF, they’ve always been doing well when Roger was still here. I think he played in the cup final, Eric Tinkler played in the cup final, and they qualified last season, so Pirates have won the cup in 1995 so nothing surprising. Pirates should be in the stage where they are in. We would love to proceed further so there’s no surprise of Pirates having done what they have done. We just have to try and go further as much as possible and possibly win it, it’s possible so I’m proud that the team is at the stage that they are in currently,” says Mandla Ncikazi, Orlando Pirates co-coach.
Even some of their opponents in their group have tipped Pirates to do well in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
“I think that the most important thing for us in this game is the qualification, we have qualified now we have played against the best team, the best team in this group. Orlando Pirates I said since the beginning of this competition that they are the best team in this group and they can do very well in this competition. They have very good players and a very good team,” says Mohamed Kouki, Al Ittihad coach.
The quarter-final draw for both competitions will be conducted at the CAF headquarters in Cairo on Tuesday afternoon. Teams that finished top of their groups will be seeded.