Johannesburg – Despite claiming league honours last season, Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Hlompho Kekana believes the team will be even better in the upcoming campaign.
“We are a club that is always looking to improve our game and we know that we have to constantly work hard if we want to continue winning,” Kekana said in Chloorkop on Thursday.
“People will definitely see an improvement.”
The pressure would be on from other teams to keep improving, he said.
“Our challengers will sign players in an effort to beat us to the title so we cannot afford to relax. We need to be able stand up to the other title challengers.”
Sundowns had been active in the transfer market as the club looked to reinforce its squad ahead of what was expected to be a gruelling 12 months.
Maritzburg United pair Mario Booysens and Rheece Evans were the latest acquisitions.
A number of other players had also been linked to the club in recent weeks, with Bonginkosi Ntuli and Siyanda Zwane of Golden Arrows allegedly on the verge of a move to Chloorkop.
By winning the league title, Sundowns had qualified for the Caf Champions League. Kekana said his side would still aim to be competitive in all competitions despite a much heavier fixture schedule.
“We have put last season behind us and we are concentrating on doing well in the new season.
“It's going to be tough but we are hungrier for glory than we were last season because once you win, you want more and more.”
The club's objective was not only to be highly regarded locally, but to enhance its reputation across Africa, Kekana said.
“People have always said that we have an unnecessarily big squad but it's going to be important for us when we compete for all the cups locally, and to also compete in Africa.”
Sundowns players started their pre-season preparations in earnest this week, and would embark on a continental sojourn before the season kicked off in August.
“The players are excited about the new season. The thing with Sundowns is that we have top level international players, but we all work hard for the team. There are no egos, all the players have a winning mentality and positive attitude.”
Sundowns were set to hold training camps across north and east Africa, mindful of their Champions League obligations.
Kekana said playing a number of friendly games against African competition last season gave his side a better idea of what to expect.
“Again, this pre-season we want to play with top African opposition for the experience and to test ourselves outside the country. We don't just want to be a good team domestically, we also have ambitions of being considered one of the best on the continent.” – Sapa