Stars, Downs must regroup

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Now that they are both out of the prestigious African Champions League, Mamelodi Sundowns and Platinum Stars have to regroup swiftly in preparation for the Confederations Cup.

The draw will be held on Saturday in Yaounde, Cameroon.

After conceding four goals in the away leg, the only way for Sundowns to go through was to score two goals at home, but the Bazilians managed only one goal from midfielder Surprise Moriri when they hosted Al Hilal of Sudan at Super Stadium on Sunday.

Stars were kicked out by Al Ahly in Cairo, courtesy of two goals by Emad Moteab and Angolan striker Flavio.

Now it is time for Stars' coach Miguel Gamondi and Trott Moloto of Downs to focus on being part of the 16 teams from across Africa who will compete for the lesser rated Confederations Cup. The South Africans are in good company, though, with champions Etoile de Sahel also being relegated by Zimbabwe's Dynamos.

Gamondi was understandably disappointed, lamenting the chances missed, and crucially, his players' loss of concentration when it mattered most. The Argentinian garnered a lot of respect from Egyptians, particularly the journalists who hailed him and his players for playing with heart against the Red Devils.

"At half time, we spoke and decided to do everything we could not to concede in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But we lost concentration and, as it happens with high quality teams, they punished us.

"We were close to making history, but now we have to try and do well in this competition, but we face stiff competition from all the teams that are there, they are all highly rated teams. My players learnt a lot, and I hope they can only improve from now on," Gamondi said.