Cape Town – Co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has thrown the gauntlet by saying Mamelodi Sundowns can "lift any trophy on offer" in the wake of his team qualifying for the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
Mngqithi was speaking after his side’s comfortable 2-0 win against DR Congo visitors AS Maniema in the second leg of their preliminary second round tie at Loftus Stadium over the weekend. The result gave them a 4-2 aggregate after their 2-0 win in the first leg in Congo last week.
When Mngqithi said the team can "lift any trophy on offer". He was also including the elite Champions League title since the current squad is stronger than last year's one.
"The group that we have this year has been reinforced a little bit from what we had last year," said Mngqithi. "We are very hopeful that they (the Sundowns squad) can win the Champions League.
"We have got to take each step and each game as it comes, and then see how we end up.
"We are very confident that with this group we could lift any trophy that is on offer. We have to take every game and give it the seriousness and attention that it deserves."
Over the weekend fellow PSL rivals, AmaZulu also qualified to play in the Champions League group stage. Mngqithi said the time has come for South African club owners to put their faith in local coaches.
"I think we need to congratulate our coaches when they are doing well," said Mngqithi. "I think there is a significant improvement in the game as a result of the input of our South African coaches.
"One will wish South African club owners will start looking around locally before they go out searching for imports abroad. I believe there are so many coaches in our country that are jobless at the moment. Some are working with smaller teams, but they only need an opportunity at the highest level.
"Even in the (PSL) league, coaches are showing how many South Africans have been performing well in that space as we speak."
Sundowns will now turn their attention to Saturday evening's MTN8 final against Cape Town City at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban. City won the MTN8 title in 2018 whereas Sundowns have yet to win it. They have lifted the title in its former guises BP Top 8 and SAA Super Eight Cup.