No love or Xmas lunch for 'Downs as Champions League fixtures eat into family time

15 October 2019 - 06:00 By Mark Gleeson
Mamelodi Sundowns will probably not be celebrating this much over the festive season thanks to a heavy African Champions League fixture list.
Mamelodi Sundowns will probably not be celebrating this much over the festive season thanks to a heavy African Champions League fixture list.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns' upcoming African Champions League campaign could see them on the road at Christmas and playing on Valentine’s Day.

The sweethearts and families of the Mamelodi Sundowns players are not going to be too enamoured with coach Pitso Mosimane's charges this season.

Not only does their upcoming African Champions League group campaign see them on the road at Christmas, but they will also be playing on Valentine’s Day.

The squad will have to forego Christmas this year as they face a trip to North Africa at the same time as Santa Claus pops down the chimney.

And the fixtures, released on Monday by the Confederation of African Football, sees Sundowns scheduled to play on February 14 when their wives and girlfriends would perhaps rather prefer an intimate date rather than having to sit in the stands supporting them.

Sundowns will open their Champions League campaign with a home game against Petro Atletico of Angola in what is a good chances to build a platform for a top two finish and progress to the final knockout stages of the competition.

Last week Sundowns were drawn with the Angolans, Algeria’s USM Alger and their old nemesis Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in Group C of the Champions League, but the fixtures have only just been released by CAF.

Sundowns will host the Luanda club on either Friday November 29 or Saturday November 30. That must still be determined by CAF in accordance with their television plans.

Sundowns will then travel a week later to Morocco for yet another meeting with Wydad as they clash in the competition for a fourth year in a row.

Pitso Mosimane’s men are yet to win in Casablanca.

Sundowns go back to North Africa three weeks after that to meet USM Alger on either December 27 or 28, having to forego Christmas with their families.

After a break in January, Sundowns will be back in continental competition action on Valentine’s Day against USMA.

A week later, on February 21, they are in Luanda to meet Petro Atletico, and conclude the group phase at home on March 6 against Wydad in what could be another humdinger of a fixture between the two old enemies.

The top two finishers advance to the quarter-finals in April.


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