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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Sundowns will not underestimate Champions League outsiders

'It should be a good game and one that we will be ready for,' said Sundowns defender Grant Kekana.

Mamelodi Sundowns will not take little known Mauritanian top-flight club FC Nouadhibou lightly in their CAF Champions League group opener.

Sundowns defender Grant Kekana is adamant that the newly-crowned African Football League (AFL) champions, who will come into the game as overwhelming favourites, won’t underestimate their less-fancied opponents.

Nouadhibou made history by becoming the first club from the Northwest African country to qualify for the group stages of the continent’s biggest club competition.

They secured their spot in the round-robin stage thanks to a 1-1 home draw against Real Bamako after the first leg ended in a 3-0 win to take the overall tie 4-1 on aggregate.

“I think we all know what the Champions League is like. It’s very competitive and very tough,” Kekana said ahead of the match.

“This is also a tough team. We know they have a few players in the Mauritania national team. So we expect the quality to be very high and a physical (game) just like most African teams but it should be a good game and one that we will be ready for.”

The Brazilians are also expected to mount a serious challenge for the coveted competition this season, following their success in the inaugural AFL.

Just the tonic

Kekana is hoping that capturing the eight-team competition was just the tonic his team needed in their pursuit of a second champions league title.

“It (winning AFL) will give us a great sense of confidence going into the Champions League,” he added.

“The AFL proved that we can do it against the big guns and we want to continue with the winning momentum and that mentality because the AFL was just a start of something even bigger.

“We hope that the Champions League will be brought home this season but we know it’s going to be a difficult journey that we need to be well prepared for.

“We don’t take any team for granted because there are a lot of surprises from teams that are unknown on the continent, such as FC Nouadhibou, and we don’t want to take any team lightly.” 

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