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Mamelodi Sundowns’ goalkeeper Denis Onyango believes that winning their MTN8 quarter-final clash against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs will set the tone for the rest of their campaign as they are looking to claim the top honours once again.
Last term, Sundowns bagged their fourth successive title under new co-coaches Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi. But while that was an achievement, they once again fell short in the MTN8, losing in the quarter-final to Bloemfontein Celtic.
But Mokwena and Mngqithi will be hoping that they are second time lucky this season, considering that they’ve had a full pre-season with the team – as that was not interrupted by continental football duties compared to the previous campaigns.
But in their quest for glory, they’ll have to get past nemesis Chiefs in the opening round first. And that’s easier said than done, given that Chiefs are high on confidence after playing in the Champions League final and Carling Cup recently.
They might have won the less fancied ‘Beer Cup’ but albeit the loss to Al Ahly in the Champions League, they’ll draw inspiration for reaching the final going into the new season. Moreover, they’ve got a new coach in charge, Stuart Baxter.
Baxter’s team has already been bolstered with seven new signings after the club’s transfer ban came to an end in June. Onyango, meanwhile, anticipates a tough clash against Chiefs, although he knows the importance of a win going forward.
“It’s a very big encounter for us and of course for them, because they really want to win the first game and get into the semi-final of the MTN8, but we’re also looking forward to it the same since we’ve been struggling to win the MTN8,” he said.
Onyango who was speaking to the club’s website added: “It’s a very difficult game but it gives the opportunity also for the boys to start off with a strong side and try to get good results, and get momentum to take us throughout the season.”