Morgan Gould believes SuperSport United must be wary of a “dangerous” Kaizer Chiefs, as the in-form Matsatsantsa take on an embattled Amakhosi tonight.
The SuperSport captain also preferred to lean to the side of caution as he discussed his side’s own hopes of making a late surge to the Absa Premiership title.
Matsatsantsa face an extraordinarily tough-looking run-in, with games against league leaders Orlando Pirates and second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns to follow the Chiefs match, with their final fixture a tricky trip to Bloemfontein Celtic.
From a glass half-full point of view, however, just three points off the top going into the weekend’s fixtures (Pirates played Ajax Cape Town last night in the Mother City), SuperSport are almost certain to win the title if they can win these four mountainous games.
“I think it’s still very much out of our hands,” Gould argued, however. “We must see if the others drop points. I think Pirates and Sundowns have it all their way.”
These are sentiments that have been echoed by SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt, and while there could be a certain element of mind games here, such is the inconsistency of all the teams in South Africa, that it is certainly more likely SuperSport’s results will be split in their coming matches.
Faced with a similar set of fixtures in the first round, Matsatsantsa, at the time looking favourites for the title, beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 at home, only to lose to Pirates and Sundowns. Gould believes the first-round victory over the Amakhosi will give Chiefs extra motivation this evening.
“We beat them in the first round and they are going to come out wanting to beat us. We need to be wary, they are a good team.”
Chiefs have been espousing a slightly deluded optimism this week, with all and sundry touting an improvement in play since the sacking of Serbian Vladimir Vermezovic, despite defeats in the league to Maritzburg United and Santos, and in the Nedbank Cup to Free State Stars.
The Amakhosi even seem to feel they have a shot at the league title – Chiefs currently sit five points behind SuperSport, albeit with a game in hand.
Gould, meanwhile, feels that SuperSport need to be careful of a Chiefs side desperate to prove themselves under the new regime.
“They have just changed their coach and they will want to show they can play under any coach,” said Gould.
“Doc Khumalo and Ace Khuse know the culture at Chiefs and know whatever needs to be done. I think they could be at their most dangerous point now.
“They have lost games, and people are expecting them to lose (against us). They’ll want to turn the corner. We need to respect them and do what we have to do.”
SuperSport are on an excellent run at present, winning their past three league matches, as well as reaching the Nedbank Cup semi-finals. But Gould insists there has been no real difference from a dismal period earlier in the year, when the side went six league games without scoring a single goal.
“Nothing has really changed,” he said. “Luck comes on the day. We have been doing the same things, trying not to concede as defenders, and trying to score goals.
“It’s the same routine, working hard and trying to motivate ourselves for when the opportunity arises.”
And opportunity, right now, certainly beckons for SuperSport United.
Today: Free State Stars v Maritzburg United (3pm) Charles Mopeli Stadium; Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic (3pm), Milpark; Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United (8.15pm), FNB Stadium; AmaZulu v Platinum Stars (8.15pm), Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Tomorrow: Mamelodi Sundowns v Santos (3pm), Lucas Moripe Stadium; Moroka Swallows v Golden Arrows (3pm), Dobsonville Stadium.