Sundowns kick off their CAF Champions’ League Group C campaign against St. George at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday evening (17h00).
Unknown to many in South Africa is that St. George are financed by Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire businessman Mohammed Hussein Ali-Amoudi, who is considered the second richest black person in the world.
“St. George are a massive club and is not by chance that they are in the group stages of the Champions League,” Fikru tells KickOff.com.
The Ethiopians went past AC Leopards of Congo-Brazzaville in the last qualifying round on an emphatic 3-0 aggregate win.
“Trust me when I say St. George will give Sundowns a hard time. By Ethiopian standards they have the best resources and they have quality local players while they have also been able to recruit from outside the borders. They have the financial muscle to get whatever they want because they are owned by a very rich man called Ali-Amoudi who I think has more power than the owner of Sundowns. The fact that they are the most popular, biggest and most successful Ethiopian club should give you an idea about who they are.
“I have watched them playing and they have quality players from the back all the way to attack. I see no reason why they shouldn’t compete with Sundowns. Actually they have the potential of rising from the bottom the same way Sundowns did last year on their way to winning the Champions League. This is the chance for an Ethiopian club to also make a statement the same way that Sundowns did last year,” says Fikru.
The famous Ethiopian forward – who now turns out for struggling PSL club Highlands Park – was a league winner in both years he spent with St. George prior to joining Orlando Pirates 11 years ago. He adds that St. George will also enjoy massive support on Saturday.
“The plus is that it will feel like we are playing at home because of the number of Ethiopian fans that will be at the stadium. The Ethiopian community resident here in South Africa will come in numbers because we are a united nation. I will be a supporter on Saturday,” he notes.