Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has applauded Mamelodi Sundowns for being crowned the kings of the African continent at club level after lifting the 2016 CAF Champions League trophy in Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday, 23 October.

Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has applauded Mamelodi Sundowns for being crowned the kings of the African continent at club level after lifting the 2016 CAF Champions League trophy in Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday, 23 October.

The Brazilians lost 1-0 to hosts Zamalek in the second leg on the night, but won 3-1 on aggregate following a 3-0 victory in the first leg in South Africa.

Mashaba was a guest of honour of Sundowns at the match and thanked the club for being part of the travelling party.

“This was an exercise worth taking, and I feel honoured to have been part of the group to witness this great achievement. It was a spectacular event and had everything one wanted to see in a match of this magnitude was there – the atmosphere was electifrying, the crowd was unbelievable, the referee was not intimidated and was on top of his game, he was just super, the play on the field of a top class and made us sit on the edge of our seats until the final whistle sounded,” said Mashaba from Egypt.

“I would like to thank the club for allowing me to be part of their history-making feat and what I learnt is that it is never over until the fat lady sings. The Egyptians kept on pushing, and if you compare their play last night to the first leg, it is totally different. Last night they were business-like in their approach, but Sundowns did very well to hold on, they worked hard to get that star on their jerseys. Well done to the players, the support staff and the technical team led by Pitso Mosimane.”

Mashaba added Downs’ achievement augurs well for Bafana Bafana.

“What Sundowns has done is no little achievement and the good thing is that they did not do it for themselves but for the entire country. The last time we celebrated this achievement was in 1995 when Orlando Pirates conquered Africa. The offshoots from there were immense; we won AFCON in 1996, and most of the players in that national team were from Orlando Pirates because of the experience gathered playing in that competition,” added the Bafana Bafana mentor.

“You have done the country proud. The advice I would like to give to the other clubs who will participate in this competition is that it is important for them to take such tournaments seriously because it is not about them but about the country’s football growing and gaining experience for the national team.

“Next in line for Sundowns is the FIFA World Club Championship where they will face giants in world football, the likes of Real Madrid of Spain. This is indeed a great achievement by any standards and maybe some don’t comprehend the magnitude of such achievements.”

Mashaba is expected back in the country on Tuesday, 25 October while Mamelodi Sundowns will only arrive on Wednesday, 26 October.

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