Cape Town — There is arguably no team that Mamelodi Sundowns fear in the Dtsv Premiership, but they are well aware that Cape Town City pose the biggest threat to knocking the perennial league champions off their perch.
Sundowns and City have enjoyed a healthy rivalry over the last couple of seasons with the Cape Town-based club finishing runners-up in last season’s campaign.
Masandawana failed to get the better of Eric Tinkler’s team in 2021/22, with both home and away matches finishing in goalless draws.
Furthermore the Citizens pushed Sundowns all the way to a penalty shoot-out in the MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium with many neutral observers believing the better team on the day was edged out.
Sundowns, however, are a colossal force and still head to DHL Stadium on Friday evening (kick-off 7.30pm) for the 2022/23 season opener as outright favourites, although defender Rushine de Reuck is acutely aware of the challenge that awaits the visitors.
“Preparations are going really well, the guys have been working hard and we know that going to Cape Town isn’t going to be easy,” De Reuck told the club’s website.
“City have been a very difficult team for us to beat, even last season we didn’t beat them in the league, we drew twice, we know how difficult that game is going to be.”
De Reuck believes that collecting three points in the Mother City is crucial in terms of setting the tone for the remainder of the season.
“We know that it’s our first game of the season and we need to win just to get the momentum going into the next game. We are ready and working hard,” he said.
“It’s very important to start the season with a victory, if we win our first game it will give us confidence going into the next game.”
De Reuck missed the latter part of Sundowns’ treble-winning season due to returning from Bafana Bafana duty with an injury. The Cape Town-born central defender is keen to make up for lost time.
“My goal this season is to stay injury free, I know now that there’s a lot of work that I need to do on the side, like strengthening, to stay injury free and always be available for selection,” he said.
“I know that if I can get my momentum I can do really well for the team and hopefully we can be able to go all the way and win the Champions League, that’s the most important goal for us as a team.”