Kekana ready for Afcon battle

Hlompho Kekana and Bafana Bafana players meet Steyn City School kids during the team's training session.
Hlompho Kekana and Bafana Bafana players meet Steyn City School kids during the team's training session.
Image: Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana midfielder Hlompho Kekana believes the experience of Mamelodi Sundowns players in CAF competition will boost the national team in their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.

South Africa will square off against Nigeria on Saturday in a Group E qualifier for the Afcon finals in Cameroon next year.

The 23-man Bafana squad has five Downs players that include Kekana, Motjeka Madisha, Lebohang Maboe, Themba Zwane and Tiyani Mabunda.

Sundowns have qualified for the CAF Champions League for the past five years wherein they won the title in 2016.

"I was speaking with Tiyani about this match and it reminds me about the time we went to Enyimba [in Nigeria]," he said.

"We were under pressure to go out and win. This is a match that reminds us to stick to the plan and make sure we win, the three points are important."

It's likely that coach Stuart Baxter will field the Sundowns pairing of Kekana and Mabunda in central midfield.

Kekana though remained coy about the possible starting XI.

"It does not matter who [plays] on the day. What is important is for the team to get the result."

The 33-year-old is well-known as one of the hard midfield men, but it is expected to be a physical battle with the imposing Nigerians for Kekana and teammates.

"We know they are going to come at us. So, it's for us to protect our home advantage," he said.

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