All eyes on the Tshwane derby

2010-09-18 00:00

IT will be Pretoria, and more specifically Super Stadium in Atteridgeville, that will hold the attention in this weekend’s round of Premier Soccer League matches, where strong title favourites Mamelodi Sundowns and defending champions champions SuperSport United will do battle.

Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and perhaps even Ajax Cape Town will have designs on lifting the PSL trophy at the end of the season, but the odds must be high that it could well end up in Pretoria again.

Could this be Sundowns’ season? The big-spenders have failed over the last few years to find the right recipe for success, but with the array of stars they have assembled, surely they have to get it right at some stage.

The Brazilians have a 100 percent record thus far, thanks to 2-0 wins over both Moroka Swallows and Platinum Stars, and victory over Matsatsantsa would certainly provide them with a psychological edge.

Downs indeed had the upper hand over United last season in the league, drawing the first round game 1-1 and winning the return 1-0.

SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt has done outstandingly to ensure that the ongoing exodus of his top players has not inhibited the team’s success.

Sundowns have never been shy to raid their city neighbours for talent — Bafana striker Katlego Mphela and Mozambique winger Elias Pelembe being two recent examples. But the departure from SuperSport of last season’s Premiership Player of the Season, Daine Klate, to Pirates could prove one blow too many.

“If you look though at the team which did duty against Aces recently and the side which played Aces four months ago, there are seven different players — I’ve only been at SuperSport for three years and we have turned over a lot of players,” Hunt said.

The SuperSport coach said he has high hopes for Lyle Lakay and Damien Mitchell, two budding stars in his squad.

Sundowns will, though, provide a good indication of whether these players have the big match temperament required.

The Brazilians have a potentially lethal strike-force — Mphela is quickly proving himself to be of the highest calibre, and then there is Surprise Moriri, Mabhuti Khenyeza, Lebohang Mokoena and Richard Henyekane, not to mention Zimbabwean marksman Nyasha Mushekwi, who netted both goals against Swallows.

Today: Wits University v Orlando Pirates (Milpark, 3 pm – SABC 1), Free State Stars v Vasco Da Gama (Botshabelo Stadium, 3 pm), Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic (Rand Stadium, 6 pm – SuperSport 4), Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United (Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, 8.15 pm – SuperSport 4, SABC 1)

Tomorrow: AmaZulu v Moroka Swallows (Moses Mabhida Stadium, 3 pm – SuperSport 4), Mpumalanga Black Aces v Santos (Puma Rugby Stadium, 3 pm – SABC 1)

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