THERE has barely been time for Mamelodi Sundowns to lick their wounds after they surrendered their Absa Premiership title to Bidvest Wits on Wednesday.
The Brazilians have quickly shifted their focus to the defence of their Caf Champions League title.
The domestic league charge may be over for the Tshwane giants but the continental league challenge has only started for coach Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane and his men.
The Brazilians officially relinquished their title as league champions when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Maritzburg United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Wednesday.
Wits defeated Polokwane City 2-0 to win their maiden league title.
Mosimane, who was gracious in defeat, urged his troops to pull up their socks ahead of a tricky Group C encounter with AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa on Wednesday.
Downs started their Champions League campaign with a goalless draw with Saint George of Ethiopia in Tshwane, while Vita lost 3-1 to Esperance in Tunis. Esperance top the group.
Domestically, Sundowns still have second spot to fight for in the league and visit relegation-haunted Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on the last day of the season on 27 May.
But first Mosimane will worry about playing on the artificial pitch in Congo.
The coach said: “I’m proud of my team, they fought until the end. Now it’s important for us to fight for second place to qualify for the Champions League.
“Congratulations to Wits and Gavin Hunt, they deserve it.”
Mosimane said they lost the league title due to draws against Chippa United (0-0), Platinum Stars (2-2), Baroka (2-2) and Polokwane City (0-0), as well as the 3-2 defeat to Cape Town City.
He said: “We played to four draws in eight games and ended up picking up four points.” But a point will do in the DRC. “It’s a difficult one in the DRC.
We have to make sure we don’t lose. The league title is gone, it takes the monkey off our backs. We will have fresh players for the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, Maritzburg interim coach Fadlu Davids said he was not thinking about taking the job on a permanent basis as he was working on getting his coaching qualifications.
He said: “I have a clear target to complete my Uefa licence as I finish the Caf B licence. My main priority is getting those badges.”