Hlompho Kekana talks up Mamelodi Sundowns' chances ahead of CAF Champions League tie vs Esperance
Posted: 20 June 2017 Time: 08:15
Hlompho Kekana feels Mamelodi Sundowns are “the team to beat” in this season’s CAF Champions League, but believes they are well prepared to deal with that billing.
The Brazilians have begun their title defence with one win, one draw and one defeat in Group C, leaving them third in the four-team standings and three points behind leaders Esperance.
Sundowns are in Tunisia to face the pace setters, who saw off Pitso Mosimane’s men 2-1 in the reverse fixture at the start of June, and while Wednesday's match could have a big say on who progresses to the group stages, Bafana Bafana international Kekana is confident of their chances.
“We are no longer underdogs, but rather the team to beat. It is normal for defending champions to be put under pressure. What remains for us is to remain humble in our approach, and to make sure we win our games,” Kekana told Sundowns’ official website.
“We prepared well, and it is clear all the players want to win. It is very important for us to win so that we are in a good space. We will go to the stadium to play our own game, and hopefully, win.”
“We now know the logistics of playing in the [CAF Champions League] – the long traveling hours, the long hours at airports. We are just happy as players. We are learning life lessons which you do not find in textbooks. The experiences are making us better players, better people and better individuals.
“We are getting stronger mentally, and we will never give up. We are testing ourselves, our character and how we handle ourselves.
“We know the difference between our domestic league and the CL, and have adapted.”
He added: “We need the points, perhaps more than they do, and if we play our normal game, I see us winning.”