Enyimba vs Mamelodi Sundowns Preview

Sundowns travel to Nigeria to take on Enyimba knowing that this tie means nothing in terms of qualification.
Sundowns travel to Nigeria to take on Enyimba having already qualified to the semi-finals.
CAF Champions League | Tuesday 23 August | Enyimba Int'l Stadium | 17:30

PSL champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, will have to wait at least one more week to kick-start their title defence with the Brazilians travelling to Nigerian heavyweights, Enyimba, for their final group stage match of the CAF Champions League. Sundowns have already won Group B with a game to spare having won the return fixture and beating Zamalek both home and away. Enyimba failed to live up to expectations and sit uncomfortably at the foot of Group B. Despite this encounter meaning nothing in terms of qualification, Downs will still have to be professional about it and go all-out to finish the group on a high.


To Win (90mins)
Enyimba 18/10
Draw 49/20
Sundowns 14/10

Enyimba

After an absolute dismal CAF Champions League campaign, the Nigerian giants face an uphill battle against arguably the hottest team in Africa at the moment. Enyimba are rooted to the bottom of Group B, failing to win any of their matches.

Home and away defeats to Egyptian heavyweights, Zamalek, as well as a Sundowns beating sees the Peoples' Elephant have no chance in progressing to the next round. Moses Ojo found the back of the net against the Brazilians last time the sides met, but that was through a Wayne Sandilands error.

All that’s left to fight for now is to keep their heads up high and claim the three points on offer. The one positive for Enyimba is, they are undefeated in their last five home matches in all competitions. Another staggering record is that the Aba Warriors have not tasted defeat at home since 2014 in the Nigerian Premier League.

Whether or not that counts for much in this tie, Paul Aigbogun’s side will be confident of claiming something off the PSL champions.

The CAF Champions League winners of 2003 and 2004 have no hopes now, but who’s to say they can’t pull an upset over the Brazilians in this match?



Mamelodi Sundowns

Pitso Mosimane's charges have had something of a dream run to the semi-finals, having been re-instated to the competition in the qualifying stages. Now guaranteed a place in the semis, Sundowns will look to go on in the tournament and prove that they deserve to be among Africa’s elite.

The Brazilians reached the last four after finishing on top of their group in the competition, however, their opponents are yet to be decided. Bafana Ba Style will be looking to emulate the Orlando Pirates Champions League winning side of 1995. Downs have every chance of mimicking that feat, given the squad that Pitso has to play around with.

Sundowns have added five players to their Champions League squad to take part in the tournament's semi-finals. Notable absentees from the list of new players include Ricardo Nascimento and Sibusiso Vilakazi. Nascimento, the Brazilian defender signed from Academica, only recently arrived at Chloorkop, while Vilakazi is cup-tied.

Players like Anthony Laffor, Tiyani Mabunda, and Percy Tau – who was brilliant off the bench in Downs’ match against Zamalek – should all get an opportunity to impress from the start. The Brazilians can afford to give their star man, Khama Billiat, a bit of a break, knowing that this encounter means nothing in qualifying terms.

Tau and Mabunda could form a formidable partnership in the absence of Keagan Dolly and possibly Billiat. Mabunda in particular, has heaped massive praise from his manager, with Pitso stating that he should be part of Shakes Mashaba’s national team plans.

So with qualification already in the bag, Downs will have a point to prove when they travel to Nigeria.

Probable line-ups:

Enyimba: 4-5-1
Ochej; Ojo, Akas, Kester, Anyanwu; Anaezemba, Ibenegbu, Pyagbara, Onuigbo, Etor; Udoji.

Sundowns: 4-3-3
Sandilands; Evans, Nthethe, Arendse, Laffor; Modise, Kekana, T Zwane; Tau, Mabunda, Castro.

Prediction: Sundowns (14/10)
Having battered every team in their way in the CAF Champions League so far, no team look worthy of challenging Downs at the moment. Pitso Mosimane’s side are deservedly considered as one of the best teams in Africa and should come out on top against a struggling Enyimba side. Even without a few key players, Bafana Ba Style are tipped to go into their semi-final clash with all 12 points on offer in the group.

Written by Jesse Nagel.