Anthony Laffor: Extra pressure on African kings Mamelodi Sundowns in CAF Champions League
Posted: 11 July 2017 Time: 08:57
Mamelodi Sundowns striker Anthony Laffor admits their standing as African champions has meant their campaign on the continent this year is played with an extra load of pressure on their shoulders.
Sundowns are through to the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League but have done so the hard way this year, squeezing past Ugandans KCCA in the first round before negotiating their way through Group C without recording a home win.
At home they drew twice against AS Vita and Saint George while losing to Esperance, yet they were able to overcome both the Congolese and Ethiopians in their own backyards.
“This year’s campaign has been different because we are the current champions and every club in Africa has been watching us,” Laffor tells KickOff.com.
“So before going to any other club to play they already know what we are going to do. So it is difficult but then the good thing is that we have a good technical team because they are doing their homework well. It has been different [this year] because the pressure is there, especially going to Tunisia to play in front of some 50 000 fans which is different from the first year  when we were intimidated by such. We now know that everywhere we go it is going to be a crowd puller so we have set our minds well in that we don’t pay attention to what the fans are doing. We are only there to play football,” he says.
While their home record clearly suggests they don’t enjoy playing at home where they struggle to attract big crowds compared to their continental opponents, Laffor is still appreciative of the efforts from the Ka Bo Yellow nation.
“In South Africa people just don’t support football like the way they do in North Africa and other countries. So for me I don’t feel disappointed at all playing at home, we just have to enjoy the moment because we still appreciate the fact that fans that come to watch us at Loftus and Lucas Moripe will have paid their money to come in. So we are not complaining about our fans at all. We enjoy and appreciate those that make the efforts to come to the stadium. Sundowns is not Esperance, Sundowns is not Saint George, we have our people that support us and we are grateful for that.
“We appreciate the numbers that come. We cannot really be complaining about supporters now when we won the Champions League with the same fans, the people that support us come,” explains the Liberian who always knows how to make the difference in difficult games.