Mamelodi Sundowns are warned to expect a tough outing in Tanzania against Young Africans in the CAF Champions League this weekend. Sundowns legend Hlompho Kekana says the 2016 African champions must expect a difficult match in a hostile environment in East Africa. Masandawana are on the road to the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium for their quarter-final encounter on Saturday night.

    Under coach Rulani Mokwena, the reigning DStv Premiership champions have only succumbed to a single loss in the group stages. Heading to the knockout stages, Sundowns target a spot in the Last Four as they are dubbed this season’s favourites.

    Mamelodi Sundowns Legend Warns His Former Club of Yanga

    As the inaugural African Football League title holders, Sundowns have the experience to challenge for continental honours. Moreover, after losing in the semis to Wydad Casablanca last season, Sundowns and Mokwena’s priority is to bag their second Champions League gold medal.

    “Off-the-field issues actually play a big role in influencing the match and I say that because the home team benefits from that,” Kekana said on the club’s Pitchside Podcast.

    “If you play against players who are in the mood because of the supporters it becomes a very tricky task to overcome but when you speak about the experience of Mamelodi Sundowns on the continent, you are talking about a team that has matured. They understand that the demands of the match are actually on the field more than anything. You must try to ignore what might happen outside the pitch. Supporters in Tanzania are passionate. There are really two teams on that side, Yanga, and Simba FC, and you feel it when you get there.”

    “When you are in that space as a player, you feel that you don’t belong there but then it gives you some kind of advantage to know that you don’t have anyone but your teammates, so you have to make sure that in order to overcome these obstacles, you have to stick together.”

    Mamelodi Sundowns
    Mamelodi Sundowns legend Hlompho Kekana warns the current team to be ready for war in Tanzania. Image Credit: (@MamelodiSundowns/X)

    Mamelodi Sundowns to Face Former Coach – Gamondi

    Kekana is the only Sundowns skipper who lifted the coveted trophy back in 2016 and he is aware of the challenges of inter-club football. Coached by the Argentine in Gamondi who guided Sundowns to league honours in 2006, Young Africans are a tricky assignment for Mokwena and company.

    Ahead of the contest, Gamondi said he enjoyed his stay at Sundowns and is ready to face the Tshwane giants who are similar to Al Ahly of Egypt considering their financial muscle.

    “We have this ambition of being top five in Africa, you must compete,” Gamondi said, as per The Guardian of Tanzania. Sundowns like Al Al Ahly must be in the finals because they are the biggest teams. If you compare the budget of Sundowns to ours, definitely they must be favourites. It is my former team. I was champions with Sundowns in 2006, I have a very nice souvenir. On one hand, I am very happy to play against Sundowns, it is a team that I love.”

    “Because of the things you did well you always keep this feeling especially because they play the kind of football similar to us. It is a big team and, for Yanga, it is a special moment with the biggest team. Sundowns like Al Ahly must be in the finals because they are the biggest teams. If you compare the budget of Sundowns to ours, definitely they must be favourites.”

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