Hlompho Kekana is hoping to impart his knowledge to help the younger players at the club succeed. Photo:
Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana wants to give the Brazilians’ young players all the joy he has experienced with the club.

Kekana will go down as a legendary Sundowns captain, leading the club to their first Caf Champions League as well as winning the PSL title with a record 71 points. That year, 2016, remains the most memorable for Sundowns supporters.

Even though they added two more league titles after that, they haven’t reached those heights again. The Brazilians have one foot in the group stage of this year’s tournament after annihilating the Seychelles’ Cote d’Or 5-0 in the first leg of their qualifier. Sundowns will look to confirm their spot in the group stage tonight at Lucas Moripe Stadium in the second leg.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we juggle the whole thing (Champions League and domestic football now that the calendars are aligned),” Kekana said. “We have a fair advantage in that we have played the same number of games as the other teams, unlike in seasons before where we had a number of games in hand, but we also have a lot of games to play. We’re rested. We just have to try, play and win our matches. That’s what we want to do as Mamelodi Sundowns, win games and win trophies.”

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will field a full-strength team tonight as he wants his side to score more goals in order to gain confidence. But he will give some fringe players a run, including Andile Jali who bossed the midfield in the 5-0 win in the Seychelles. Should Mosimane decide to manage Kekana, he could give the 34-year-old rest knowing that there is adequate cover in Rivaldo Coetzee to partner Jali, while the young Sphelele Mkhulise has also been playing well whenever given a chance. Affectionately known as Pitso, Mkhulise has won over his namesake and the Sundowns captain.

“I have strong belief in the kid (Mkhulise), and he has the potential to help the team,” Kekana said. “He is very, very professional and I like the fact that he has the right attitude for the game. I am sure that the game will reward him with the attitude that he is giving to the game. I just want to see the team and the younger ones winning trophies. That would be something that I am happy to see because as senior players we have to guide the younger ones and help them achieve what we have achieved.”

The Star