Time is passing fast. We know this because the CAF Champions League 2020/2021 Group Stage has already reached the halfway stage. Sundowns has emerged as a force to reckon with. Meanwhile, Zamalek and TP Mazembe got exposed badly.
Here are my conclusions about CAFCL Group Stage Matchday 3:
1. Sundowns is really good
Credit to Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi, they have made sure the Masandanawa do not miss a beat since departure of Pitso. For as much as was said about their win over Belouizdad(the red card obviously), they responded with an impressive performance in a stadium where TP Mazembe had not lost since 2009! They fully deserve their credit and are rightfully contenders this season.
2. Cairo is Stuttering
Al Ahly dominated AS Vita but couldn’t make it count, thanks to a dubious refereeing decision we’ll come to later. Zamalek, on the other hand, are yet to win a game after being soundly beaten in Tunis. How did we go from a Cairo Derby CAFCL Final to this?
3. Ugly side of African refereeing rears its head again
The CR Belouizdad vs Al Hilal and Al Ahly vs AS Vita games showed the refereeing problems in the CAF Champions League are still very much alive. A clear offside goal and a non existent penalty was given against the Omdurman side, while the Cairo giants still feel hard done by the penalty call which resulted in Vita’s equaliser. This kind of stuff needs to be a thing of the past and it’s not like recent technology(VAR obviously) might help the predicament of the referees given it’s history on the continent.
4. Watch out for Simba
The run of Simba SC so far has been nothing short of impressive. They are topping a group that features the defending champions. They still have two more home games and are in pole position to top the group if they do not slip up. Did I just jinx them?
BONUS: TP Mazembe, get your act Together!
From back to back underwhelming performances and finally losing their 52 game unbeaten run at home, this season definitely has not gone according to plan for the Congolese side. They still can qualify, but they need to seriously improve if they want to stand a chance of doing so.