Cavin Johnson is confident he can mastermind another home win over Stuart Baxter’s Kaizer Chiefs as SuperSport United look to keep up their perfect start to the league season in Atteridgeville this evening.
As coach of Platinum Stars last season, Johnson narrowly missed out on the league title to Amakhosi. In his personal duel with Baxter, however, he came out on top, recording an impressive 2-0 home win over Chiefs and getting a draw on the road.
“I know how Chiefs play and I know how Stuart thinks on the pitch,” said a confident Johnson yesterday, now at the helm of Matsatsantsa.
“If I can do it again, it will be good for the club. It has nothing to do with me personally, just with the personnel on the pitch.”
SuperSport have made a good start under Johnson, winning their opening two league games – a resounding 4-1 defeat of Free State Stars followed by a slightly fortuitous 1-0 win at Tuks in midweek.
“Thus far it is looking very good,” said Johnson.
“There is always room for improvement, but the older and newer players are gelling and that is a sign of progression.
“On Tuesday, the Gods of football were on our side and we stole the points (from Tuks), but the fact that we have come out with a win, no matter how ugly, gives us a boost to play Chiefs.”
Chiefs have had a difficult week, losing to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semi-final first leg and fortunate to draw with Moroka Swallows in the league in midweek.
Johnson put Chiefs’ form partly down to the fact that it is early in the season, but he also suggested they may be paying for a lack of squad rotation.
“You must remember they played a lot of football last season,” said Johnson.
“When you play a lot of football, you have to rotate the team a lot more, and they haven’t.
“That is also showing in Barcelona now. With a lot of top teams, you have to have some rotation to give the team a bit more energy.”
SuperSport will be missing young right-back Oupa Moeketsi for today’s game, injured in midweek against Tuks. Johnson added that central defender Bevan Fransman and winger Sameegh Doutie were also still not ready to play.
Still, SuperSport have a strong-looking squad of 29 players this season and new signings like Bennett Chenene, David Mathebula and Mame Niang will no doubt be hoping to make an impact against Amakhosi.
Chiefs’ former SuperSport defender Morgan Gould certainly expects a difficult game this evening.
“SuperSport have changed their whole style of play and look really good in all departments. Mame Niang will certainly be a threat, especially if he turns up motivated, but we will also cause them many problems. It is going to be a humdinger,” Gould told the Kaizer Chiefs website yesterday.
(3pm kick-off unless stated)
Today: Golden Arrows v Mamelodi Sundowns (King Zwelithini Stadium); Platinum Stars v Polokwane City (Royal Bafokeng Stadium); SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs (Lucas Moripe Stadium, 6pm); Maritzburg United v University of Pretoria (Harry Gwala Stadium, 8.15pm)
Tomorrow: Bloemfontein Celtic v Free State Stars (Free State Stadium); Ajax Cape Town v AmaZulu (Cape Town Stadium) - Saturday Star