Mamelodi Sundowns are capable of winning the CAF Champions League for the second time in their history this season. Those are the sentiments of their former goalkeeper, Ronnie Kananelo.
The Brazilians bowed out in the semi-finals of the most prestigious CAF-Inter Club competition last season.
Mamelodi Sundowns won the CAF Champions League in 2016. But since then, they have reached the semi-finals twice, the quarter-finals four times, and bowed out in the group stage once.
Kananelo, believes they can win the coveted trophy again.
“It was just unfortunate how they were knocked out, but it’s water under the bridge. They are a good team, and they always have a chance to lay their hands on that coveted trophy.”
Kananelo was part of the Sundowns team that lost in the final in 2001 to the Egyptian giants, Al Ahly.
Last season, they bowed out to the Moroccan team, Wydad Casablanca, in the semi-finals on the away goal rule, despite not losing a single match in the whole campaign.
The Brazilians have been dominating local football for the past six seasons and are also a force to be reckoned with on the continent.
Kananelo says their huge investment is paying dividends.
“It’s not a secret; it didn’t come so easy. They have worked hard towards it. Money has been pumped into the club, and everyone is talking about Sundowns in the whole continent, so that’s much. They have really grown, and already in the 90s, we participated in the Champions League, so they kept the momentum.”
Kananelo is the former Namibian international that played 53 times for his country. He also coached his country briefly and was part of the national team technical team in their recent friendly match against Bafana Bafana.
Namibia in AFCON 2024
Namibia qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast next year. They have never gone beyond the group stages, but Kananelo is confident they will achieve that.
“There is more teams with two to three points; you basically just need one win to have a chance to go to the next round, so we obviously want to do better.”
Namibia and Sundowns are boasting one of the top strikers on the African continent, Peter Shalulile, who has been the top goal scorer in the PSL over the last two seasons. He is also a key striker for the Namibian national team, and Kananelo says he is also a pillar of strength for the national team.
“He is always wanted everywhere, just like he is important for Sundowns; he is a very important player in the national team as well.”
Sundowns will host Stellenbosch before taking on Bumaruru FC from Burundi in the CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg match also at home on Saturday. – Reporting by Vincent Sitsula