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Why Sundowns' Champions League triumph is a great SA sporting moment

South Africa is synonymous with great sporting moments, particularly those that have a unifying power to them.

The Rugby World Cup wins in 1995 and 2007, the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations triumph, the famous 438 match between the Proteas and Australia in 2006 are all etched in the archives of great South African sporting moments.

On Saturday at the Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium, another great South African moment was achieved.

Although Mamelodi Sundowns have been crowned CAF Champions League champions in the recent past, their 5-0 thrashing of Egyptian club giants Al Ahly is worth more than winning the coveted continental gong itself.

Now hear me out before you think that this statement is reaching too far.

Al Ahly’s history as an African club is rich and their trophy cabinet rivals former President Jacob Zuma’s amphitheatre at his infamous Nkandla homestead.

The ‘Club of the Century’ is the second most successful club in terms of trophies in world football, they have collected 24 trophies; only two behind Spanish giants Real Madrid who sit on 26 trophies in the cabinet.

They have dominated the CAF Champions league competition since its inception in 1964, lifting the trophy a record eight times. They have won the CAF Confederations Cup once, they have been CAF Super Cup Champions a record six times; add to that the countless number of Egyptian domestic titles and a bronze medal at the 2006 Fifa Club World Cup.

It is no wonder that I am making a fuss about a quarterfinal thrashing of an illustrious club on our continent.

Al Ahly have also never conceded more than four goals in the CAF Champions League, making Sundowns’ win not just a ripple in the ocean. What is more important about that win is that it gives the Afcon qualified Bafana Bafana massive confidence when they jet off to the tournament that will be played in Egypt in June this year.

The most successful nation in African football, Egypt has for many years cashed in on the plaudits and dominance of their premier domestic side and it is time for Bafana Bafana to do the same now off the back of Sundowns’ continued success in the African competition.

Our country now has players that continue to experience and succeed in continental football and one can only be filled with hope that they can replicate this performance in national colours when in Egypt in June and produce more great South African sporting moments.

Philasande Sixaba is a sports reporter at Eyewitness News. Follow him on Twitter: @psixaba

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