Absa Premiership

Playing Sundowns first is an opportunity, says Tinkler

Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)
Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - SuperSport United are looking for a first Tshwane derby league win over Mamelodi Sundowns in over four years in Saturday's clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Since beating the Brazilians 1-0 in March of 2013, Matsatsantsa have gone eight matches without a league win over the current African champions, while last season's two matches were won 1-0 and 5-0 by Sundowns.

SuperSport at least head into Saturday's encounter boosted by their 1-0 MTN8 quarter-final win over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend, while Downs suffered a 0-1 reverse to Maritzburg United in the same competition.

On the score-sheet for United was Jeremy Brockie, the striker having been linked via the media with a possible move to Sundowns.

Matsatsantsa head coach Eric Tinkler, a couple of months into the job, says that while he feels his side still have plenty of room for improvement, he welcomes taking on a side of Sundowns' calibre so early in the campaign.

"The players understand the concept of wanting to start the league on a positive note.

"And I have said there is no better opportunity to do that than playing Sundowns in the first league game of the season, when they are not firing on all cylinders, and neither are we, truth be told," Tinkler said.

Both teams should have a clean bill of health, with the exception of Sundowns striker Leonardo Castro, whose wife is expecting the birth of a child.

New Sundowns signing Thokozani Sekotlong could be in line to make his debut, while other new arrivals George Lebese and Oupa Manyisa may make their league bow for the Pretoria team.

Head coach Pitso Mosimane is already pleased with the impact the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players have made.

"If you don't know Sundowns‚ you would never say that they are new to the team because they have just fit in like a hand in glove. That is why we signed and opted for them," Mosimane said.

Despite reportedly looking to leave the club, Sundowns' star forward Khama Billiat remains with the team and as always will be a potential match winner. 

Kick off is at 15:00.

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