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HomeSouth African SoccerHlompho Kekana sends message to Sundowns players

Hlompho Kekana sends message to Sundowns players

Mamelodi Sundowns may step closer to a second CAF Champions League gold medal this weekend. Former captain Hlompho Kekana has sent out a word to the team.

HLOMPHO KEKANA SENDS MESSAGE TO MAMELODI SUNDOWNS PLAYERS

So a historic quadruple dream is on. The African Football League champions are chasing Nedbank CupCAF Champions League and another league title. Up next is a CAFCL semifinals first leg away to Tunisian giants Esperance this weekend.

“Unfortunately, this is a stage where you don’t choose your opponents. You’re given the opponents, and you have to do the business,” Kekana said, as quoted by the Citizen.

“Clearly and surely my boys don’t want to experience what they experienced last season [Sundowns lost to Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals of the Champions League] with these new opponents that we were given. Esperance of Tunis, very experienced at this level and have won this cup before.

“Clearly these [the semifinalists] are the top four best teams in the continent, so that tells you that it’s not going to be an easy match. As for the players, I know they’re up for the challenge and I’m sure they’re ready for it,” the former Sundowns skipper added. 

TEBOHO MOKOENA CONCERN

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has lauded his captain, Teboho Mokoena, for reporting a small injury.

Soon before the 2-2 result against the Dube Birds on Monday, the 27-year-old Mokoena scored the night’s first goal. Instead of celebrating his goal, the Bethlehem-born star immediately approached the Sundowns bench to report his discomfort. Speaking to the media after the game, coach Mokwena said the Bafana Bafana star suffered a slight tweak but did not reveal the severity of the injury.

“He just felt a small tweak, and I’m very proud of him. I always say to them, once you feel something small, don’t take risks,” Mokwena said, as quoted by FARPost.

“He scored a good goal; he could have celebrated and continued to play because the feel-good hormones take over the pain. But he was professional to say, I’ve got something and I’m very proud of him for that,” the Sundowns mentor concluded.

WHY SUNDOWNS ARE STRUGGLING

We’ve all seen the team labour in the past couple of games. Sundowns coach Mokwena has admitted that his players are struggling. Mokwena has revealed that exhaustion and the schedules have been unkind.

The DStv Premiership and African Football League champions have collected very tight results. They won 1-0 over Richards Bay, won on penalties against Young Africans, and narrowly won 1-0 over Cape Town Spurs. The latest result was Sundowns 2-2 Swallows on Monday.

“Let me not give too much away but this team needs to spend time on the pitch together,” Mokwena said as per the Citizen.

“We have to build chemistry, fluidity and cohesion. The only way we can do that is on the pitch. I want them to play more together and I’m not sure what we will do on Monday but we have to take it one day at a time.

“At the moment they must be exhausted because I am also exhausted and I think the most important thing now is recovery. The last session I only had 10 minutes with them and the rest of the time they were in the massage room.

“I like this feeling where I look at their eyes and I can see they want more and they keep pushing,” the Sundowns boss added.

“That for me is a side that we didn’t have before for these types of games. If you think about the (Cape Town) Spurs game, it reminded me so much of the Stellenbosch FC game of last season where we lost and another one where we drew at the same pitch.

“Last season or the season before, we [Sundowns] lost these games or drew because we just gave up. Now we have a strong mental fortitude, we support each other and we dig deep so I’m very proud of the players,” the Sundowns tactician concluded.

The CAFCL semifinal game against Esperance will be on Saturday at 21:00 on SABC Sport.

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