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Masandawana is bidding again for another continental title, starting with a trip to Botswana to face the tournament’s rookies.
Jwaneng Galaxy coach Sikalame Keatlholetswe has fanned the flames ahead of the first round of the Caf Champions League, Tuesday’s first leg against Mamelodi Sundowns, saying his team will be a match for the Premier Soccer League champions. .
The match takes place at Lobatse Stadium, in what is the first game of the current season for the Sundowns as they relaunch their quest for another continental title.
Despite an apparent gulf between the two sides, Keatlholetswe refuses to allow his team to wear the underdog tag before the match against the 2016 African champions.
“I don’t see any difference between the two teams, we are members of Caf and FIFA, we are champions here and they are champions on that side,” Keatlholetswe told the Botswana Press Association according to Daily News. “This is the moment we’ve been waiting for.”
The Galaxy, Botswana Premier League champions, will make their debut in the Caf Champions League.
Their only appearance in Africa was an exit in the preliminary round of the 2018 Caf Confederation Cup, and now they face the Sundowns, who are perennial fighters on the continent.
Keatlholetswe’s confidence can come from the emphatic way they made it to the first round.
The Galaxy beat Comoros’ Zilimadjou 4-1 in the first leg of the preliminary round, before a 1-1 draw in Moroni to set a date with Masandawana.
After six seasons of Champions League soccer with Pitso Mosimane, who guided them to the 2016 crown, Sundowns starts their business in continental elite club soccer competition without Al-Ahly’s new tactician.
It remains to be seen whether coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena, as well as senior manager Steve Komphela can lead the Brazilians back to Champions League glory.
Mokwena, for example, treats Galaxy with some respect.
Of course, Galaxy is a good team. We will get images from our analysts and the advance team that went to Botswana, “Mokwena told Sundowns media.” You can see it with the [Botswana] national team that there is a resurgence in football.
“We have to make sure we are well prepared.”
The return leg will be played on January 6 in Pretoria.