Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands will not allow his emotions to get the better of him when he faces former employer Mamelodi Sundowns in a showdown at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
The 34-year-old Sandilands spent almost a decade at Sundowns, but the relationship came to an end in June when his contract was not renewed.
He was promptly snapped up by Pirates on a three-year deal a few days later and his career has undergone an impressive metamorphosis since joining coach Milutin Sredojevic’s side.
The goalkeeper said while he expected the reunion with his former colleagues to be emotional‚ he would not allow his feelings to influence the job at hand in a game that was expected to be peppered with tension.
"I think the reality is there will always be emotions but the fact is you have got to manage them and you cannot allow them to hinder you from getting the job done‚" he said.
"So for me the focus is not on the past‚ not on the future but on the present, on this game.
"I believe the quality that we have‚ if we stick to our process‚ if we stick to our game plan‚ we will be able to get a positive result on Wednesday.
"We are under no illusion that it is going to be a walk in the park," Sandilands said.
"So there are emotions‚ there is a lot of baggage that can come with this game. But it is important for you if you want to be able to go and perform to your optimum to block that out and be present and focus on the processes and get the job done."
Sundowns have lost their trademark swagger of old and coach Pitso Mosimane’s usually swashbuckling ship has sailed into stormy waters‚ losing their last three matches in a row.
The 10th-placed Brazilians will be desperate to return to winning ways against a Pirates team they have managed to get the better of in recent years.
Sandilands could have a hugely influential role to play if the third-placed Pirates are to overcome a Sundowns team that beat them home and away (6-0 and 2-0) last season.
But the goalkeeper insisted he did not have a point to prove to anyone at Downs and would play his normal game.
"I think my performances over the years have spoken for themselves and there’s nothing really to prove.... I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be at this club."