Sundowns skipper Kekana hopes history‚ and luck‚ remain against Pirates

29 March 2019 - 15:31
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrate a goal.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrate a goal.

History will be against Orlando Pirates when they take on bitter rivals Mamelodi Sundowns in what is expected to be a potentially explosive Absa Premiership encounter at Orlando Stadium on Monday night.

The Buccaneers have not beaten the Brazilians at home for eight years and another defeat in the unusually-scheduled clash next week will deal Milutin Sredojevic and his men a huge blow in their attempt to win the league championship for the first time in seven years.

Sundowns’ last two visits to Orlando in the league ended in convincing 3-1 and 2-0 victories for coach Pitso Mosimane and his men‚ and Downs captain Hlompho Kekana said they are going to need more luck for the trend to continue.

“We always play well against them away from home but I think luck also plays a role‚” he said as Sundowns continued their preparations at Chloorkop on Friday. “You always have to prepare yourself very well but luck plays an important role and I hope that we are lucky again.

“My long-range goal there [beating Wayne Sandilands from inside his own half from in November 17‚ the the aforementioned 3-1 win] also had a bit of luck in it but we are not going to rely on that only. “We are preparing like any other match and we will are going to give our all and try to win it‚” said the Bafana Bafana midfield strongman.

Kekana disagree with the notion that the result of the match will decide the destiny of the championship.

“When I look at the log standings‚ there are about four to five teams who can still win this league‚” he said.

“There is still a lot of football to be played before the end of the season and I honestly don’t think the result of this match on Monday will decide who will win the league.

“It is important for all of us as a team to go out there with a positive mindset and apply ourselves in a professional manner with the goal of getting three points.”

Sundowns will be without influential attacking midfielder Gaston Sirino due to suspension and Kekana said they are going to miss him.

“I don’t like to single out individual players because we work as a team but Sirino is an important player for us‚” Downs’ skipper said.

“He will be missed for this game but we have other capable players who must raise their hands and show what they are made of.

“If you have followed us this season‚ the coach has been rotating players because of our participation in the Champions League and we have always managed to replace players because we have depth.”