SA clubs earning respect in Africa‚ says SuperSport United's Gould
Bafana Bafana and SuperSport United defender Morgan Gould has said South Africa have earned the respect of their African peers on the back of Mamelodi Sundowns and Matsatsantsa’s Caf exploits.
While Sundowns may have failed to defend the Caf Champions League title they won last year‚ SuperSport United are only two games away from continental immortality as the Democratic Republic of Congo’s TP Mazembe stand in the way of their first ever Caf Confederation Cup title.
SuperSport have gone about the tournament in a different way‚ holding teams at home before shifting into different gears when on the road.
Their 3-1 in against Tunisia’s Club Africain and 2-2 draw against TP Mazembe are testament to this. SuperSport also have the “luxury” of the away game being the first one in the two-legged final.
“We’re more respected now that Sundowns won the Champions League last year and they know now that Sundowns did what they did‚ they realise we can’t be playing with stooges and dummies and get to the final‚” Gould said.
“Our games are televised in most African countries and some would rather watch European football. That’s how arrogant those people are.
“In the North African countries‚ they watch European football and they forget about us‚ not knowing they have to play against us. I think we gave them something to think about and they should know there’s a lot of football in Africa‚ there’s a lot of good footballers and a lot of good teams.”
While South African teams in most sports are known to crumble under pressure‚ SuperSport displayed a resilience that along with their entertaining and pragmatic brand of football has carried them to the final.
It is difficult to gauge the national team on the same yardstick but they showed a fight unexpected of them in their 3-1 win against Burkina Faso earlier this month to keep their World Cup hopes alive. Gould said South African teams seem to thrive when faced with adversity.
“It’s like you’re fighting a giant similar to David v Goliath. Your back is always against the wall and the only way for you to succeed is for you to go forward and fend for yourself.
“It’s a mentality that I don’t want us to change but to keep working on and make it our weapon.
“People tend to doubt you when you’re in that situation but getting it right and knowing that’s our strength [got us through].
“There have been better teams that we’ve knocked out in the competition as compared to the Tunisian side but because they had the belief and the backing of their nation‚ they had press conferences saying they were going to lock up shop and they're going to the final.
“If we can back our own and become proud of how we’re technically aware‚ the better for us.”
SuperSport are South Africa’s third continental finalists in three years‚ and fourth in five‚ as Premier Soccer League clubs gain a growing respect in African club football competitions.
Orlando Pirates lost narrowly to Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia in the 2015 Confed final‚ and Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the 2013 Champions League.