South Africa

Kekana talks levels as Sundowns prepare for Esperance tie

Hlompho Kekana 3

Mamelodi Sundowns legend Hlompho Kekana has taken a veiled swipe at those who are criticising the Brazilians for their struggles in front of goals in recent matches.

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The Brazilians, who normally score goals easily against their opponents, have only netted five times in their last six games in all competitions.

But during that process, Sundowns managed to reach the semifinals of the Caf Champions League and the Nedbank Cup and also maintained their unbeaten run in the DStv Premiership.

Speaking during a The Pitchside podcast with ex-teammate Tiyani Mabunda and DJ Naves, Kekana said it is easy for people to criticise Sundowns from a distance, adding that one needs to be at the level of the Brazilians to understand the struggles they go through in order to achieve their successes.

“You need to understand your level. Once you understand your level, you’ll operate at that level. Unfortunately once you reach that level, you’ll make most people unhappy because you’re the only one at that level and that’s the case with Sundowns now, they’re operating at that level. It’s difficult for people to relate to that. You can’t relate to a level you’ve never been.

“It’s like when people ask me, ‘you won eight league titles, how was the feeling like?’. I can’t explain that in words, it’s an experience that you need to experience in order for you to understand it. The level that Sundowns are currently operating in is difficult for people to understand. It’s easy for people to pick up on things that are not happening right now [at Sundowns], but have you ever played 50 games in one season? You can’t judge that because you have never experienced it,” added Kekana.

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Sundowns are away at Esperance in the first leg of the Caf Champions League semifinals this coming weekend and Kekana is anticipating a tough clash against the Tunisians.

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