CAF Champions League: Esperance de Tunis would have loved to face Mamelodi Sundowns over TP Mazembe


Esperance de Tunis would have loved to face Mamelodi Sundowns rather than TP Mazembe in the semifinals of the CAF Champions League.

Sundowns eased into the last four of Africa's elite club competition with a 5-1 aggregate scoreline over eight-time champions Al Ahly in the quarterfinals.

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However, the holders from Tunisia would have preferred to go up against Pitso Mosimane's side for a place in the 2019 final, according to Tunisian journalist Souhail Khmira.

Khmira – who covers Tunisian Football for CAF Media and a regular content contributor for BBCSkyFootball and Goal – feels after the 6-3 aggregate win over CS Constantine, Esperance are genuinely concerned over the danger the Congolese side presents.

"To be honest, they are not concerned about Mamelodi Sundowns, not at all, for Esperance, the players and Tunisian fans, the main concern usually comes from TP Mazembe because they have a bad history against them," he tells
"One of the biggest losses they suffered was at the hands of TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League, I think it was 5-0, it's something non-Esperance fans in Tunisia like to remind Esperance every once in a while.
"Especially now after the historic 8-0 loss for Club Africain, whenever the Esperance fans make fun of the Club Africain fans, they would respond by reminding how they were walloped first by the Congolese giants.
"I can safely say for all Tunisian fans, TP Mazembe is the monster in the closet - none of the clubs wants to face them.
"A lot of people are saying that the current TP Mazembe team is not the side we should be fearful of or they are not the side of the past but there's always this shadow that follows them - that makes them this intimidating opposition."
Khmira added: "Esperance would have loved to have rather faced Sundowns in the semis, especially because they are playing the second leg away from home, given the fact they have gone ten years without defeat there [in Lubumbashi].
The Tunisian giants will host Mazembe in the first leg on either 26 or 27 April, while the return leg is scheduled for 3 or 4 May.