Cape Town — Mamelodi Sundowns know what's it like to play with a target on their back. They have been undisputedly the best team in the land as their four successive DStv Premiership titles attest.
But there is a new kid on the block, Royal AM, that has been making plenty of noise down in KwaZulu-Natal. Equally they have an owner, Shauwn Mkhize, with a deep purse that has real potential to upset the Sundowns monarchy.
Mkhize certainly has a bit of Meghan Markle about her with scant respect for traditions as she showed when she paid her players' bonuses in cash on the field after a match earlier this season.
The Royal AM players have taken their lead from "MaMkhize" and have adopted a similar brash style of football that has seen them stand back to nobody, particularly not against the Soweto giants with "Thwihli Thwahla" taking four points off Kaizer Chiefs (4-1 win) and Orlando Pirates (1-1) already this season.
Results such as these has propelled Royal AM to third place on the log and a victory over the champions could trim Sundowns' lead to just six points.
However, the Brazilians carry their title belt with pride and have seen off contenders with much more stature than Royal AM and veteran midfielder Andile Jali is certainly up for the latest challenge.
"We expect a lot from Royal AM. We know what they are capable of and coming to do. And we are prepared for them. They can come... it's okay.
"We are prepared to face them. We know they want to do their best because we saw what they did against the other two big teams. We know they don't need motivation because they are coming to play against Sundowns.
"Everyone wants to prove they can play football against Sundowns. They will come at us with their speed going forward, but we will be ready."
It could arguably be the best time for Royal AM to face Sundowns as they are currently in the midst of a mid-season slump — at least according to their high standards — having drawn three of their last five matches. They have also conceded in their last three games after not letting in any goals all season.
Sundowns will also be without influential midfielder Rivaldo Coetzee, who is serving a suspension after picking up a yellow card in their previous league game against Stellenbosch FC.
Jali, though, is not focusing on all these outside distractions and simply wants Sundowns to return to their regular winning ways.
"We know this game is important to us after dropping two points against Stellenbosch. Coming into this game everyone is willing to fight," he said.