Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns are determined to reward the club's supporters for their patience after the Pretoria club has gone five season without a trophy, says midfielder Teko Modise.
"The supporters told us what they want us to achieve this season," Modise said ahead of Sundowns' Telkom Knockout first-round meeting with Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.
"They really spoke to us and we're trying to respond in every way possible. Honestly, they deserve something as well -- they deserve to smile like other supporters."
The Brazilians' last title victory was in May 2008, when they beat Mpumalanga Black Aces to lift the Nedbank Cup under coach Trott Moloto. Since then, they have suffered many years of near-misses and bitter disappointments.
They failed to qualify for the first cup tournament of the new season --the MTN8 -- after finishing outside of the top eight in last season's Premiership campaign.
The former Bafana Bafana playmaker said the Pretoria side were raring to go, ahead of their clash against the team which beat them in last year's knockout final.
"We played Celtic last season in the final in Durban and we lost with a goal that wasn't supposed to be… but that's football, that's how it is," Modise said.
"They will go into the game knowing they beat us in the final, so we're going to have to be very smart about the game and do our job. We need to analyse the game and take our chances."
Modise was referring to Joel Mogorosi's goal which sealed the victory for Celtic in controversial style at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in December last year.
Mogorosi's header looked to have been cleared off the line by Sundowns defender Clayton Daniels. The goal, however, was awarded, despite television replays suggesting the entire ball did not cross the line.
"We don't see it as revenge," Modise said.
"We're going to be smart about it because the game is going to be played on the pitch, so it's pointless to argue back-and-forth about who's going to score and about what happened last season.
"We lost again them. The goal wasn't supposed to be a goal, but we never cried about it."
The 30-year-old admitted the team were under pressure to end their five-year drought, and said the club's coach Pitso Mosimane had set lofty targets, not only in cup tournaments, but also in the Premiership.
"The pressure is that we haven't won anything for a couple of years. Every season we don't win anything, the pressure mounts.
"We're not targeting anyone specifically but we know we want the league.
"Sundowns want to win. Sundowns is a big team.
"We have a coach who hates losing. It's good, it's a mentality he installs within the players."
Asked about his concerns in the build-up to Sunday's encounter, Modise conceded scoring remained an issue for the team lying second in the league standings.
"It's still the finishing… we can concede four goals, as long as we have that confidence that we can score more than the opponents.
"We've got guys who are capable of scoring. It's not just Cuthbert Malajila or Dove Wome… it's not anyone specifically, it's the whole team.
"All of us have a chance to score, so if we can work hard on that, I think we're going to be a better team."