Big Match Feature: Downs v Mazembe
Mamelodi Sundowns, the second SA club to win the prestigious CAF Champions League after Orlando Pirates, will play host to TP Mazembe, the winner of the 2016 CAF Confederation Cup, in the 25th edition of the Total CAF Super Cup on Saturday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria.
If history is anything to go by, the South Africans will have the advantage of prognosis. Only thrice (1992, 1997, 2011), has the winner of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup lifted the one-off match trophy.
This year, the Congolese side pose a great challenge to their host. With three CAF Super Cup triumphs to their name since 2009, it is a familiar terrain for ‘Les Corbeaux’ who will for the first time not be playing at their favourite Lubumbashi grounds.
Player-for-Player, it is a balanced affair. In the ranks of Sundowns are three of the five players shortlisted for the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa (2016) namely eventual winner Denis Onyango, Khama Billiat and Hlompho Kekana. The fourth, Keegan Dolly has since joined French side, Montpellier.
On the other hand, Mazembe will be without the trio of Jonathan Bolingi, Merveille Bope and Christian Luyindama, who have also moved to Belgian side, Standard Liege.
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WHAT THEY SAID?
“Games like this are the only way you can measure how big or good you are. Pressure is part of our life. Games like this build character, and ideally every game we play should be at this level and intensity. That way we all grow and the game gets bigger and better as we get used to such an environment. TP Mazembe are a huge team, and we will respect them. But we have to do what we do best. They have achieved a lot, but that does not mean they will be better than us,” – Sundowns midfielder Khama Billiat
"We have players capable of fetching this trophy. One month after the resumption, I still feel the respondent physically and tactically. Sundowns is a very fast team in the counter attacks, their players go fast forward and do not often make the too many mistakes when knocking down the opponent. It is up to us to be fast in our transition. To get to the bottom of this team, you need rhythm and efficiency," – Mazembe stand-in coach Pamphile Mihayo
Name: Pitso Mosimane
Date of Birth: 26 July 1964
Country: South Africa
Previous jobs: SuperSport United, South Africa (Assistant Coach), South Africa
Growing up in Soweto, football became a serious business for Pitso after signing for Jomo Cosmos in the early 1980’s at 18. Two years on, he joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 1985, a move that made headlines in South Africa as he became the most expensive player at the time. It did not take long to pay Sundowns back, playing a huge role in their Nedbank Cup triumph.
After a season, he returned to Jomo Cosmos, scoring 11 goals from his midfield position as ‘Ezenkosi’ won the league. Next stop for Pitso was Orlando Pirates in 1989 before leaving abroad to Greece, where signed for Ionikos. After six years in Greece, he joined Belgain outfit Rita Berlaar before signing up his career with Qatari side, Al Sadd in 1996.
As a coach, his breakthrough came in 2000, when he was named head coach of SuperSport United in 2000, a position he will hold for the next six years with the highlight being awarded as Coach of the Year for the 2004/2005 season. He was soon on the radar of the national team handlers, serving as Assistant Coach to Brazilians Carlos Alberto Perreira and Joel Santana.
After the World Cup, Pitso was promoted to the head coach of Bafana Bafana but failed to guide the team to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. After leaving the national team job, Pitso joined Sundowns and has since silenced his critics with his record at the helm.
The Brazilians have won the league twice besides other domestic honours. Pitso made history by guiding Sundowns to the first ever continental title last October, at the expense of Egyptian giants, Zamalek, 3-1 on aggregate.
Name: Thiery Froger
Date of Birth: 21 March 1963
Previous Clubs: Le Mans, Lille, LB Châteauroux, FC Gueugnon, Stade de Reims, Togo, Nîmes, Vannes, Créteil
Froger played club football as a defender for Le Mans, Lille and Grenoble. After retiring as a player, Froger managed a number of French club sides including Le Mans, Lille, LB Châteauroux, FC Gueugnon and Stade de Reims.
President Mosese Katumbi travelled all the way to France alongside Mazembe’s Finance Director Salomon Kalonda Della to seal the deal with Froger who becomes the fifth French coach at the club. Other French coaches who have been at the helm of Mazembe include After Diego Garzitto, Lamine Ndiaye, Patrice Carteron and Hubert Velud.
Froger, soon 54, wished very early to become coach. He started at Le Mans, at the Le Mans training centre and then as a pro team where he was elected best Ligue 2 coach. He then went on to complete his L2 course, notably at Châteauroux, Gueugnon (again sacred best Coach in 2003/2004), Rennes, Nîmes.
His only African experience remains his brief passage to the head of the national team of Togo (2010) after the drama of Cabinda, but Froger often directed African players such as Herita ILUNGA for example.
Froger is in Pretoria with Mazembe but will only start his work on the return of the Super Cup, next week.
HISTORY OF THE COMPETITION
Established in 1992, it is a one-off match that pits the winner of the CAF Champions League against the winner of the CAF Confederation Cup. In principle, the match is hosted by the CAF Champions League winner. CAF can also choose, for various reasons, to have the game played at the home grounds of the CAF Confederation Cup winner or in some cases, on a neutral ground.
Win by countries
9 - Egypt
3 - DR Congo, Tunisia
2 -Côte-d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria
1 - South Africa, Algeria, Ghana
Win by clubs
6 - Al-Ahly
3 - TP Mazembe, Zamalek
2 - Enyimba, Etoile du Sahel 2
1 - Africa Sports, ASEC Mimosas, Entente Sportive Setif, Esperance, Hearts of Oak, MAS Fes, Orlando Pirates, Raja Athletic Club
1992 : Africa Sports (Ivory Coast)
1993 : Zamalek (Egypt)
1994 : Esperance (Tunisia)
1995 : Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
1996 : Zamalek (Egypt)
1997 : Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
1998 : ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
1999 : Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
2000 : Hearts of Oak (Ghana)
2001 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2002 : Zamalek (Egypt)
2003 : Enyimba (Nigeria)
2004 : Enyimba (Nigeria)
2005 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2006 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2007 : Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
2008 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2009 : TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
2010 : TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
2011 : MAS Fès (Morocco)
2012 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2013 : Al-Ahly (Egypt)
2014 : Entente Sportive Setif (Algeria)
2015 : TP Mazembe (DR Congo)