Sun Sep 24 05:04:55 SAST 2017

Big week for SA clubs in African club competition

By Mark Gleeson | 2017-06-27 13:14:39.0

South African clubs face a key weekend in African club competition with both Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United looking down the barrel on difficult away trips and Platinum Stars virtually eliminated.

Defending champions Sundowns have to avoid defeat in Ethiopia on Saturday or face early elimination as is the case with Nedbank Cup winners SuperSport‚ who travel to Guinea to take on Horoya in the African Confederation Cup.

Stars are hanging on by a tenuous thread in the Confederation Cup and must win their match on Friday at Mouloudia Alger but are not given much chance without a win yet in their group campaign.

Sundowns‚ however‚ will have high hopes of continuing their unbeaten run away from home in this year’s Champions League when they meet St George.

Both sides sit in second place in Group C on five points with St George‚ who are rookies in the group phase of the Champions League‚ having caused a shock in May when they held Sundowns to a goalless draw in Atteridgeville.

Sundowns did well last week to get a draw away at group leaders Esperance with an injury depleted squad that has not seen any improvement.

They fly at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon from OR Tambo Airport again without the likes of injured Wayne Arendse‚ Khama Billiat and Ricardo Nascimento‚ officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Sundowns have one more game to come next weekend at home to AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo but if they lose to St George they will not be able to go through.

Victory for the Ethiopians‚ who are handled by ex-Santos coach Mart Nooij‚ would put them three points ahead of Sundowns and even if the Brazilians catch up by the end of the final round‚ the head-to-head result will be against the holders and effectively condemn them to an early exit.

SuperSport are also sure to be eliminated if they lose in Conakry to Horoya‚ who held them 2-2 in Atteridgeville at the start of the group phase.

Horoya would ensure qualification to the quarter-finals with victory over Matsatsansa by leaving SuperSport five points adrift with one game to go.

It is a difficult trip to West Africa for SuperSport‚ who have to get back down to business after the euphoric high of victory in the Nedbank Cup last weekend.

With Stuart Baxter having left the club‚ Kaitano Tembo takes charge for the game as he will for their last match at home to CF Mouanana of Gabon on Saturday‚ July 8.

New SuperSport coach Eric Tinkler is already in place and will take some training sessions over the next days but will leave Tembo to finish the group phase of the competition.

At Platinum Stars‚ their new coach Peter Butler is also not involved with their long trip to Algeria.

But he might be in charge for the first time when Stars complete their campaign at home next weekend against Mbabane Swallows‚ who handed them an embarrassing 4-2 hiding in the kingdom last month.

Willem Jackson is in charge this weekend. - TimesLIVE