Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana believes the Brazilians have got what it takes to defend their Caf Champions League title.
Sundowns were crowned champions in October last year after they beat Egyptian giants Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate to become only the second South African team after Orlando Pirates to achieve that feat.
The Brazilians resume the defence of their continental title on Saturday at 5pm with an opening group clash against little known Ethiopian side Saint George at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
“It would be very special for the club‚ the fans and the players to retain this trophy in South Africa‚” Kekana said.
“When we started the campaign last season we never thought of winning the trophy but we did it and it can be done again this time around if we try‚” said the soft-spoken Kekana‚ who added that the players are excited at having another go at continental glory.
“It is going to be an exciting campaign for us and we are looking forward to the match against Saint George.
“I am sure that they are coming here prepared and we will also be ready for them because every match is a different story.”
Following their 2-2 draw against Baroka on Wednesday‚ Sundowns have a quick turnaround before hosting the Ethiopians.
Kekana said they knew from the beginning that matches will continue to come thick and fast.
“We knew that by qualifying for the Champions League again this year‚ this is what was going to happen.
“We have to sacrifice our rest‚ time with families and be professional enough because football is our life and we must go out there and do whatever it is necessary because we love our work.”
Sundowns are not the only South African side representing the country on the continent as Platinum Stars and Supersport will also be flying the nation’s flag in the Confederation Cup.
SuperSport host Horoya Athlétique Club from Guinea at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday night while Stars are at home to Mouloudia Club d’Alger from Algeria at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Sunday.
– TMG Digital/TMG Sport