Pitso Mosimane and Mamelodi Sundowns go to war

Hlompho Kekana and Tebogo Langerman of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates a goal during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on November 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hlompho Kekana and Tebogo Langerman of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates a goal during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on November 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns skipper Hlompho Kekana says it is a strange feeling being away from home for Christmas but the sacrifice comes from a strong love for the game.

Sundowns were in Algiers on Wednesday‚ preparing for their weekend African Champions League clash against USM Alger putting their quest for continental glory above the holiday season.

“It’s the first time something like this has happened in our football career so it’s a bit strange‚” admitted captain Kekana in an exclusive interview with TimesLIVE.

“But these are also moments you cannot take for granted and which I will forever cherish and a day to remember because I'm with the team‚ with the boys.”

Kekana says he will do close to anything chasing footballing success and is happy to deal with the relentless travel schedule that the club have as they chase both continental and domestic honours.

“Travelling has never been a problem for me‚ as you know the love I have for this game. So I can do anything to play this game.”

But he has had to sit down with his family and explain the sacrifices.

“I've spoken to my family about this year's calendar and they know and understand

the type of the job I've chosen. They support me fully.”

In a sense Kekana has had to turn father himself‚ motivating and encouraging younger players in the squad and picking up spirits as they sit thousands of miles from home for the festive holidays.

“I try to make sure the younger boys don't have divided attention and let them know that with these kind of sacrifices‚ will come the best moments of their career.”

Sundowns can extend their lead in Group C with a positive result on Saturday against the Algerians‚ who they meet for the first time.

“USMA are a good team‚ a good football-playing team with lots of movements in the last third.

“They are typical north Africans‚ but we looking forward to the match.

“I'm just excited to be here once again. The last time I was here we won the match against Entente Setif‚” Kekana added.


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