Sunday, 19 June 2016

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER: how Pitso's Mamelodi Sundowns confounded the continent

MIRACLE IN ALGERIA: Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane
Today I come to praise Pitso Mosimane. As one of those football addicts who stayed up way beyond midnight last Saturday night, it was a memorable 90 minutes on the Mamelodi Sundowns roller-coaster. Did I say memorable? Make that  bloody miraculous!

After a long day which featured come-from-behind wins for Bafana Bafana (on penalties over Lesotho in the COSAFA quarter-finals), a missed penalty for Cristiano Ronaldo (in another fascinating failure for Portugal) and a first win for Allister Coetzee’s Springboks, it was entirely unexpected.

We burned the midnight oil expecting to see another brave failure in Africa from our PSL champions. When they got to 20 minutes at 0-0, I tweeted that the match situation was already better than expected.

Truth is, our KaboYellow title winners went to Algeria with little to hope against their 2015 champions ES Setif. To list the problems for South Africa’s leading club in full would require several pages, but let’s just say their preparations weren’t ideal, they didn't expect to be in Africa, contracts need settling, new blood has yet to arrive.

In goal, Wayne Sandilands found himself thrust in front of a packed May 18th 1945 Stadium (read more about that name at the foot of this story) as a late stand-in for PSL goalkeeper of the year Dennis Onyango of Uganda and Kennedy Mweene of Zambia.

In midfield, with Bongani Zungu off to Portugal, Tiyani Mabunda need a last-minute visa application to get him out of the country for his continental debut. A word too for Leonardo Castro, who opted to return from Colombia to help out despite the imminent end of his one-year deal in Tshwane.

Whispers told us central defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele was left at home chewing over a move to Kaizer Chiefs, striker Anthony Laffour had “disciplinary problems” and it felt like Pitso Mosimane's usually impeccable preparation was in disarray.

With Ramadan to consider, the game didn’t start until after 11pm, no South African club has ever kicked off so late. And of course, no club has EVER played in the African Champions League group phase after being knocked out of both continental tournaments - only the disqualification of AS Vita Club had landed them back in Africa’s most important cup competition.

And Sundowns previous trips to North Africa hardly instilled confidence. Remember 0-4 against Tunisia’s CF Faxien, 0-3 against Egypt’s Al Ahli, 2-4 to Sudan’s Al Hilal?

They trotted out in Setif, memorable only for football and a massacre (105 were shot dead by French police on May 8, 1945) with a record of six defeats and two draws in their previous eight games north of the equator.

What was it Pitso said a few weeks ago about travelling north? "You see how it is. It's a jungle."

Under pressure from the first whistle to the last, we witnessed a 90 minute miracle. An away win to start a qualifying process Sundowns should never have been involved in.

First the long-suffering Mabunda silenced the rowdy crowd with a stunning first half goal against the run of play. Then, playing on the transition, the tireless Keagan Dolly - hero of Bafana’s only AFCON 2017 win against Gambia - finally threaded a ball through to PSL player of the season Khama Billiat.

The priceless Zimbabwean wove his magical thread through the Algerian defence and stuck it away. At 2-0, an unthinkable victory was confirmed. Setif had barely forced a save out of the impeccable Sandilands.

And then, in injury-time, a roar from the outraged fans, loud bangs from thrown fireworks and a full-scale pitch invasion. Chaos as Sundowns sought shelter by the bench. Fearful Setif players stayed on the pitch, looking on with some trepidation but trying to re-assure the opposition of safe passage from the stadium.

Footage of the trouble HERE:

Though our SuperSport and SABC commentators were doing their best from studios in Johannesburg, we were not granted visuals of the missiles thrown, the security guards trying to keep control.

Referee Mahamadou Keita from Mali, who did Sundowns few favours on an historic night, tried to get the match restarted but in the end, the final whistle went amid the chaos.

Much will be said, hopefully by SAFA to CAF, about a night of high drama and crowd chaos which, like the trouble at Euro2016, must be punished.

But this week, let’s just bask in the glory of South Africa’s finest Champions League performance in years. With Nigerians Enyimba at home on June 29. Pitso and Sundowns can finally give the nation something to shout about.

To read about the horrific events of May 8, 1945 in Setif:


  1. Damn, dats so amateurish. Dey do nt want 2loose. Who must loose ? Caf mus jus punish dem wit empty stands everytym dey play at home!

  2. Damn, dats so amateurish. Dey do nt want 2loose. Who must loose ? Caf mus jus punish dem wit empty stands everytym dey play at home!

  3. My Husband divorce me for no reason, Thanks to Dr happy for bringing back my husband,and brought me great joy to my family once again, My name is crystal . i live in USA New Jersey, I`m happily married to a lovely and caring husband,with three kids A very big problem occurred in my family 2 weeks ago,between me and my husband so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he did not love me anymore So he packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through several pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who did not call me for the past seven {2}weeks,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit Dr happy ,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr happy for bringing back my husband,and brought great joy to my family once again. { }, Thanks you Dr happy, i will always be testifying about your good work. also call him on +2348133873774.your spell is really a 100% Guarantee sure and safe

  4. GREETINGS everyone out there.. My name is Sarah Gomez FROM CANADA i will never forget the help Prophet Ayelala rendered to me in my marital life. i have been married for 5 years now and my husband and i love each other very dearly . after 3 years of our marriage my husband suddenly change he was having an affair with a lady outside,i notice it then i was praying for divine intervention the thing became more serious i told my pastor about it we prayed but nothing happen. my husband just came home one day he pick up his things and left me and the kids to his mistress outside at this time i was confuse not knowing what to do again because i have lost my husband and my marriage too. i was searching for help in the internet, i saw many people sharing testimony on how Prophet Ayelala help them out with their marital problems so i contacted the email of Prophet Ayelala i told him my problem and i was told to be calm that i have come to the right place were i can get back my husband within the next 24hours. He told me what went wrong with my husband and how it happen.that they will restored my marriage. to my greatest surprise my husband came to my office begging me on his knees that i should find a place in my heart to forgive him,that he will never cheat on me again. i quickly ask him up that i have forgiven him.friends your case is not too hard why don't you give Prophet Ayelala a try they work surprises because i know they will help you to fix your relationship with your ex partner. i thank god for using Prophet Ayelala to save my marriage. Contact him via Email: ( ) Or Reach him on whatsapp: +2347031894318