United gear up for champs league

2010-02-25 10:28

Newly crowned Premier Soccer League champions SuperSport United

will not be allowed to rest on their laurels after clinching the Absa

Premiership title for the third successive season.

Despite losing 2-1 at the Super Stadium to hard running BidVest

Wits in their penultimate fixture on Wednesday night, United secured the title

with a match to play after their only rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns, suffered a

shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of bottom club Jomo Cosmos at the Rand Stadium in

their Wednesday night fixture.

No matter what happens in their last fixture away to AmaZulu on

March 6, United cannot be overtaken at the top of the table.

But coach Gavin Hunt, who has now won a record three successive

league titles and collected R30 million in prize money over the last three

seasons for his club, said the players would be back to work on Thursday to

prepare for Saturday night’s African Champions league first round, second leg

showdown against Mbabane Swallows at the same venue. Kick-off is at

8.15pm.

Said Hunt: “I was disappointed and upset that we lost to Wits as I

wanted to win the title in style.

“But having said that, we have been consistent in some 90 league

matches during the last three years and all credit to the players who secured

another tremendous honour for the club.

“At the end of the day I am delighted retaining the title for a

third season.”

While winning a third league title would take a while to sink in,

it is back to business as his champions prepare to play the Swaziland champions

who were outplayed 3-1 at home by a second string United two weeks ago in

Mbabane.

United skipper, Bongani Khumalo, who lavished praise on his coach

saying he is the driving force behind the team, also promised they will bounce

back on Saturday in the Champions League.

“We know how important it is for the club to succeed in Africa now

that we have secured a third PSL championship, and we will be fired up come

Saturday.”

Veteran coach Walter Rautmann will be back to help Swallows against

the PSL champions. Rautmann originally joined Swallows on a four week contract

but left before the first leg after a dispute with one of the coaches.

“We have nothing to lose and will attack SuperSport who have looked

vulnerable lately,” said Rautmann.

However, SuperSport should have too much experience and, said Hunt:

“I want to get to at least the group stage (quarterfinals) of the Champions

League this year.”

Hunt said the 3-1 first leg win afforded him the luxury of giving

some regulars a rest. But he stressed he would not allow his side to take their

foot off the pedal.

“I do not see Swallows giving us too much trouble, but at the same

time I will be taking nothing for granted.”

Wits coach Roger de Sa said while he was delighted to have beaten

the champions, he said they were recovering from a slump and can look forward to

the forthcoming cup competitions.

“But all credit to Hunt and his players, they are worthy champions

for a third time. It is an amazing feat winning three successive league

titles.”

Orlando Pirates who are again firing blanks, play Gaborone United

in their Champions League first round, second leg match at the Nelson Mandela

Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday (3.30pm).

Pirates drew 0-0 in the first leg 0-0 in the Botswana

capital.

Moroka Swallows host Pamplemousse in their African Confederations

Cup first round, second leg clash at the Rand Stadium on Saturday at

3.30pm.

The Birds lead 2-1 from the first leg in Mauritius.

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