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Being away from home on Christmas Day is 'a bit strange' - Mamelodi Sundowns captain Kekana

19:14 GMT+3 27/12/2019
Hlompho Kekana, Mamelodi Sundowns, October 2019
The Downs skipper is keen to play a role in helping to avoid distractions that could affect the team in Algeria

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana has emphasised ensuring that younger players in the squad remain focused ahead of Saturday’s Caf Champions League showdown against USM Alger away from home.

The match comes on the backdrop of Sundowns unusually spending Christmas Day on foreign soil while preparing for the match against Algerians, a situation which Kekana describes as ‘a bit strange.’

Fearing that some younger players could be distracted by having their minds on family and friends back home ahead of such a crucial assignment, Kekana feels he has a huge role to play as the skipper to ensure maximum concentration.

“I try to make sure the younger boys don't have divided attention and let them know that with these kind of sacrifices‚ will come the best moments of their career,” Kekana told Times Live.

“It’s the first time something like this has happened in our football career so it’s a bit strange.

“But these are also moments you cannot take for granted and which I will forever cherish and a day to remember because I'm with the team‚ with the boys.”

Kekana is aware of what to expect from their Algerian opponents, whom he feels are dangerous in attack.

“USMA are a good team‚ a good football-playing team with lots of movements in the last third,” Kekana added.

“They are typical north Africans‚ but we are looking forward to the match. I'm just excited to be here once again. The last time I was here we won the match against Entente Setif.”

It would be the first time for Sundowns and USM Alger to meet in the Caf Champions League.