Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana says their experience in continental football has helped them to play comfortably in any country around the African continent.
The Brazilians have qualified for the fourth time in the Caf Champions League group stages and will face Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosas, Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca and Lobi Stars of Nigeria.
“As a country, we didn’t take this tournament as serious as we should, because this really is a mind exercise, like I said, football is a mind game more than anything,” Kekana told the media.
The Zebediela-born midfielder became the first Brazilians skipper to lift the continental trophy in 2016 when they beat Egyptian side Zamalek and will hope to lift their second trophy next year.
Moreover, he said playing on the continent has made them stronger because of travelling long trips and facing hostile crowds.
“Such trips, such games, such matches, they prepare you mentally through your career,” he continued.
Although travelling the length and breadth of the continent has congested the Premier Soccer League (PSL) reigning champions’ schedule, Kekana said he can go and face any team with no fear.
In addition, he spoke of the importance of representing the country in Caf club competitions, the Bafana Bafana international said playing in African will benefit the national side.
“If you take me now and go play in Cairo for instance, I can go there with ease because I’ve been to Cairo several times and we’ve been there and won matches in Cairo,” added the skipper.
“So for us as Sundowns players, I think it’s easy now to adapt to any situation around the continent so as South Africans I think we need to really, really, take that in to consideration because it can help us as a country, we can compete in every tournament because of the players who are taking part in the continent,” he concluded.
Moreover, the Tshwane side is joined by Orlando Pirates in the premier continental competition as the Buccaneers are set to face FC Platinum of Zimbabwe, Tunisia’s Esperance and AC Horoya of Guinea.