Premiership champions Sundowns aware of target on back

Denis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns and FC Barcelona superstar Luis Suárez during the International Club friendly match between at FNB Stadium on May 16, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Denis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns and FC Barcelona superstar Luis Suárez during the International Club friendly match between at FNB Stadium on May 16, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns are well aware that they will have a marksman's target on the back in the coming season but the Absa Premiership title holders say they will be ready for all the pretenders eyeing their crown.

The Brazilians will do battle on five fronts and besides attempting to defend their domestic league title‚ they will also participate in the Caf Champions League‚ MTN8‚ Telkom Knockout and in the Nedbank Cup.

Sundowns begin the defense of their domestic league title against Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus on Saturday and goalkeeper Denis Onyango conceded that they have a tough journey ahead.

“It won’t be easy to defend the league title but we must stay positive‚” he said.

“There is pressure on us to do well this season but we want to defend the league.

"This responsibility comes with its own challenges because everyone is going to target us as defending champions.

"We have to believe that we can do it besides the fact that the league programme is going to be heavy with all these domestic competitions and the Caf Champions League.”

Sundowns beat Chiefs during the pre-season Shell Helix Ultra Cup at FNB Stadium but Onyango is not expecting Amakhosi to make dramatic changes under new coach Giovanni Solinas.

“Their new coach was there when we played them in the friendly mach even though he was not on the bench‚" he said.

"But I don’t expect them to be too different.

"They have the same players and mentality.

"The only difference maybe will be the fighting spirit.

"So we must be prepared because they don’t like to lose to us.

"I am expecting them to field a different team to the one they fielded in pre-season‚ but we need to win.

"Last season we lost to them at home in the league but we want to start on a good note.”

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