Celtic, Sundowns meet in Bloem

Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns will get the new Absa Premiership season underway when they meet at the Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon, kick-off at 15h00.

Both teams come into the fixture on the end of an eventful transfer market campaign which has seen each outfit having undergone a vast amount of changes.

For Celtic, however, they will be looking to build on from their fifth place finish of last season and skipper Thabo Nthethe says playing at home first acts as an extra benefit for the club.

“Sundowns will be tough but we have a home advantage. We have to use it and make sure we start winning from the first game,” he says.

“Getting the first points will be good and then, in the second round, we have to make sure we collect away from home.”

During the transfer window, the Brazilians managed to acquire the services of Dome Wome, Kennedy Mweene, Bongani Zungu and Sibusiso Khumalo.

Nthethe feels that even though Celtic may not have watched Sundowns in the preseason, they will still be able to produce chances in the game.

“We haven’t seen Sundowns play in the preseason which makes it difficult for us. We haven’t seen their new players either so we don’t know them very well,” he adds.

“We just have to do what we know. We are at home and we have to make sure we take the game to them, make sure we take our chances.

“We will get chances in this game.”

Zambian international and new Sundowns signing, Kennedy Mweene, couldn’t help but disagree with his adversary, suggesting that Celtic already knows the new faces at Chloorkop despite their changing of alliances.

“I don’t think that Celtic having not seen our players gives us an advantage,” says Mweene.

“They know Dove Wome, Malajila and myself, the teams we came from, so they know what to expect. It won’t be strange at all for them.

“It is the same as every other game and it will be tough going to Bloemfontein.

“We will go there looking to take the chances that arrive, and, by doing that, hopefully we can start on a good note.”

It was an uncanny campaign for the Pretoria outfit where they finished outside the top eight.

“Last season is in the past. There is a new team and new staff members here so it will be different,” adds the goalkeeper. “Pitso [Mosimane] has his philosophy and the guys are looking good.”