South Africans are celebrating victory in the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) flagship club competition, the CAF Champions League.
Guateng based Mamelodi Sundowns won a fairytale first CAF Champions League title on Sunday despite a 1-0 second-leg loss to Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria. The team had done the chunk of their work in a resounding 3 – 0 first leg victory in Pretoria a week ago.
Zamalek’s Stanley Ohawuchi scored on 64 minutes but it was not enough for the home team as the overall aggregate score after the first leg stood at 3-1.
It was a remarkable triumph because the South Africans were eliminated in the final qualifying round in April only to be reinstated when their Democratic Republic of Congo opponents were disqualified.
As per the winning prize for the competition, Sundowns are $1.5 million (1.38 million euros) richer and have secured a place at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan coming December.
FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) October 23, 2016
“It was an amazing journey of ups and downs and now we are the champions of Africa,” said Sundowns’ Zimbabwe striker Khama Billiat.
“We look forward to Japan and facing the best clubs in the game. It is going to be an absolute pleasure.”
Winger Keagan Dolly said: “We knew it was going to be difficult because Zamalek are a great team with some outstanding individuals.
“Some people will say we were lucky to get a second chance after being eliminated, but I believe we deserve to be African champions.”
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane had to make one enforced alteration with huge Ivorian centre-back Bangaly Soumahoro coming in for suspended Wayne Arendse.
South Africans celebrates on Twitter
South Africa’s twitter space has been flooded with congratulatory messages for the team. From the government to the minister of sports, his colleague minister of arts and culture, rival clubs and ordinary citizens, Sundowns were deservedly congratulated for their historic triumph.
RSA Min of Sport (@MbalulaFikile) October 23, 2016
Applauding Sundowns In studio!!! 👏👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/uhK66ZNN9p— Carol Tshabalala (@SimplyCarol8) October 23, 2016