SuperSport United’s quest to climb the table means they have to secure a positive result over the best side in the league at present, Mamelodi Sundowns.
In doing so they can also grab Tshwane bragging rights from this Pretoria derby which takes place at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday night, kick-off at 8.15pm.
The floundering three time champions have started 2011 in inconsistent form, they have lost to Orlando Pirates, took a draw (Free State Stars) and a win (Vasco) from their remaining two games of the year.
A stale-mate at home with Ea Lla Koto midweek will however perhaps not been seen as a great result, and Gavin Hunt’s men will be hoping for an improved result against the Brazilians.
Pretoria derbies are traditionally entertaining and tight affairs, although recent history provides little comfort for Matsatsantsa – Sundowns won this season’s encounter 2-1, while last season’s league games resulted in a draw and a win for Downs.
Adding to the occasion is the fact that so many players have crossed over between the clubs in recent seasons – the majority leaving United for Sundowns, with SuperSport’s continued loss of some of their top players seemingly to have caught up as they find themselves just outside the top eight.
With that in mind, it would be a real statement of intent and a confidence booster if the champions can secure victory, but they face a Sundowns side determined to make the league trophy their own, and looking to bounce back from a 1-1 draw to Celtic midweek
“This is going to be a tough game, make no mistake,” said Downs skipper Esrom Nyandoro, a veteran on many such derbies.
“SuperSport don’t deserve to be where they are, they have had some results go against them this season, at times they seem to battle a bit in front of goal, but they remain a very, very good side.
“We are however determined to hold on to our top spot, and after dropping points in midweek a win is our only aim.
“It’s hectic this time of the season with games coming so quickly, but if you want to challenge for honours, you have to dig deep and find renewed energy and commitment
Hunt will certainly be hoping for more from his strike-force – the likes of Kikru Tefera and Kermit Erasmus are yet to come to the party, although Anthony Laffor is showing improved form.
While Nyandoro anchors the Sundowns midfield, former Botswana international Dipsy Selolwane does the hard yards in the SuperSport engine room.
“We are not happy with recent results, we need to find more consistency so we can build momentum and climb the table.
“Sundowns will be the favourites for this game, but that suits us fine,” he said.
“They are under pressure to keep their place at the top, so if we can keep things tight and limit their chances, they will feel the pressure, and its up to us to take advantage.
“Derbies are always exciting between these two teams, and league position counts for little, we need to go into the game focussed and thinking only of the 90 minutes, we are certainly good enough to a positive result.”-Backpagepix