Igesund taking the heat in Downs’ kitchen

2007-12-12 00:00

But in spite of the amiable Igesund’s characteristically unflinching approach in the face of a crisis, he could hardly be faced with a more daunting challenge tonight than confronting runaway current PSL log leaders Ajax Cape Town on their home turf at Athlone Stadium.

Not only are Sundowns coming off three successive defeats — including the harrowing Telkom Knockout loss to fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs via a penalty shoot-out — but the spectre of an embarrassing four successive losses against Ajax in what was otherwise a triumphant 2006/7 season must still be haunting The Brazilians.

And in addition, the disturbing off-the-field controversies that have rained on Patrice Motsepe’s club like an intermittent electric storm in recent weeks have not been designed to improve morale either.

Igesund, nevertheless, says he remains confident of Sundowns completing a monumental third successive Premier League championship for the second time this season in spite of currently trailing Ajax by an imposing 10 points.

And with a record of having four different clubs, including Sundowns, attaining the PSL title under his tutelage, Igesund must be credited as something of an authority on the subject of League championships.

Sundowns, however, will need to show more resolution, tenacity and inspiration to gain three points in what is effectively a “six-point” match-up in the circumstances — and silence, in the process, the rumour mongers who are suggesting billionaire club president Motsepe’s patience is running out in the face of his club’s recent decline.

So, more than anything, the game at Athlone Stadium is poised to reveal the depth of Sundowns’ character, with sufficient talent at their disposal to check the current log leaders in their stride.

In other games tonight, Kaizer Chiefs will be out to improve on an unseemly 11th position in the log when they play Golden Arrows at Loftus.

But Amakhosi, who have drawn seven of their 12 Premier League matches this season and lost twice, could have their hands full against the sprightly Arrows — as could SuperSport United when they tackle Santos in a simultaneous fixture in Pretoria at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium.

Today :

Thanda Royal Zulu v Black Leopards (Princess Magogo, 3 pm), Jomo Cosmos v Bloemfontein Celtic (Mehlareng, 3.30 pm), Free State Stars v Moroka Swallows (Goble Park, 3.30 pm), AmaZulu v Wits University (King Zwelithini, 3.30 pm).

Tonight:

Platinum Stars v Orlando Pirates (Olympia Stadium, 7.30 pm), Kaizer Chiefs v Lamontville Golden Arrows (Loftus Stadium, 7.30 pm), SuperSport United v Santos (Super Stadium, 7.30 pm), Ajax Cape Town v Mamelodi Sundowns (Athlone, 7.30 pm).

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