Caf Champions League Group C Preview: It's do or die for Mamelodi Sundowns in Tshwane, Wydad look to put one foot in the next round

Masandawana take on Togo-Port in a must-win encounter, while Wydad and Horoya do battle in Casablanca

With the second round of Caf Champions League group stage fixtures about to begin this weekend, the continent’s most prestigious inter-club tournament is reaching its business end.

However, it’s still all to play for in Group C, with defending champions Wydad Casablanca, Horoya, Togo-Port and former African champions Mamelodi Sundowns all vying for a place in the knockout rounds.

For Sundowns in particular, Friday night’s fixture is a lot more significant than they would have initially anticipated. After losing to the Togolese champions in Lome, the two sides will again meet, only this time on South African soil.

The Brazilians will hope to use their home advantage, knowing all too well that their hopes of progression are resting on a knife’s edge.

Following two draws and a defeat, Sundowns’ chances are beginning to dissipate.

But if Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has anything to say about it, their hopes are not over just yet.

Ahead of the clash, the 54-year-old has been under no illusions regarding the importance of the task at hand, and at the same time he remains optimistic.

Despite losing two of their star players during the current transfer window, Sundowns have been on a rebuilding process as they look to find a successor for Percy Tau, who joined English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.

Sundowns' defeat in Togo was marred by several wasted opportunities by the Sundowns attack and Mosimane is likely to make a few changes.

One change that could potentially be on the cards is the introduction of Jeremy Brockie.

The New Zealand international is yet to hit the heights that he set for himself at SuperSport, but after breaking his duck against Kaizer Chiefs in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup, he will be confident.

Brockie’s potential return to form as well as the return of South American player Gaston Sirino, who missed the previous match through suspension may just be the ingredients that Mosimane needs in order to overcome to a rather impressive Togolese side.

Moreover, Togo-Port have several danger man of their own, and Sundowns will again need to be on the lookout of Issifou Bourahana from set pieces as well as forward Ayi Hunlede.

This will be a test for a Sundowns side who have conceded four goals in three games, and they will look to avoid the mistakes which were made in Togo.  

While the clash is significant for Sundowns, for Togo-Port on the other hand, victory could put them in contention to advance to the next round, making it an intriguing affair.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Group C, Wydad Casablanca host Horoya in a top of the table clash on Saturday.

The last time these two teams locked horns the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

But with the game being played in the Moroccan giant's backyard, they will favour their chances this time around.

Wydad are currently unbeaten at home in their last 11 encounters and with the likes of Ismail El Haddad and Mohammed Ounajem in attack they will be confident that they can build on the 12 goals they have already scored in the tournament.

Horoya though, are by no means pushovers and have surprised many in their maiden Champions League group stage expedition.

Although, a key factor that Wydad will need to be wary off is the Guinea-based outfit’s propensity to score late on.

33% of Horoya’s goals have come between the 75th and 90th minute, meaning that Wydad cannot afford to switch off or else they could be punished.

Nonetheless, with the stakes very high as the winner of the encounter will undoubtedly have one foot in the next round, the clash promises fireworks at the Stade Mohammed V.