Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana expects fireworks against Pirates
Hlompho Kekana expects fireworks when Mamelodi Sundowns face Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night in a game that could give some clarity on the destiny of the Premiership title this season.
Second-placed Sundowns are chasing a third successive title‚ which would take them to 10 league titles‚ but Kaizer Chiefs‚ who are nine points clear at the top, appear to have their destiny in their hands and are favourites at the moment.
A Sundowns defeat would also draw third-placed SuperSport United into title contention‚ especially if Matsatsantsa win the Tshwane battle against the Brazilians at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.
SuperSport are 10 points behind Amakhosi and with Bidvest Wits‚ who entertain Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday‚ are seen as dark horses.
“Sure‚ I think the season always comes with different challenges‚” said Kekana. “I remember last season we worked hard to beat Pirates to the title.
“Each point is important‚ so we’re very aware of the situation we are in at the moment. But there is a lot of football to be played.
“There are still 14 games to go‚ so it’s important we stay close to everyone and not lose track.”
Against a Bucs side that is yet to taste defeat under new German coach Josef Zinnbauer, Kekana admitted their task would not be easy with their talisman Themba Zwane suspended for the game.
“We’re very aware of the danger they pose‚” said the Sundowns skipper, who recently celebrated his 300th game for the Brazilians.
“This time around it’s a different match altogether because the team has changed and they have a new coach.
“We just want to go there and try to win the match. But it’s not going to be easy. It will be a very challenging match for both teams.”
A meeting against Bucs in Orlando always brings back great memories for Kekana. Many fans will remember when he caught Wayne Sandilands off his line with a long-range thunderbolt from inside Sundowns’ half.
“You enjoy those moments when you do and bring the points for the team‚” Kekana said of the game they won 2-1.
Sundowns go to Soweto with lots of confidence, having won three times in Orlando in five league games against Bucs in the past five seasons.
The two league games between these sides ended in thrilling goalless draws last season‚ something that is unlikely to be repeated on Wednesday.