Pretoria - Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and the University of Pretoria may be calling the same city home but they embark on different missions next season.
Whether willingly or by circumstance, the sides, though they will compete in the same competitions, they will battle for different outcomes. Sundowns will be on a mission to win the Absa Premiership title and CAF Champions League. SuperSport will also gun for the league and one of the domestic trophies while Tuks will be hoping to make the top eight.
But central to accomplishing their missions will be getting some new acquisitions to bolster their teams. Sundowns have taken the lead with seven new signings so far while SuperSport have made five new acquisitions and Tuks have made three new buys.
Some of the new signings were on display during the Gauteng Sport Challenge at the Lucas Moripe Stadium at the weekend.
Sundowns captain Alje Schut is delighted that the team’s new signings are blending in well with the rest of the team.
“We have few new players. We have to bring them up to speed with our way of playing. We are watching a lot of videos and doing a lit of tactical sessions with the guys.
“It’s good to see things come out. Few players return like Mshishi (Themba Zwane) and Musa (Nyatama). It’s been good. It’s been better than expected. We thought we would have some problems to bring the guys in but from day one, it’s been positive. They are open and they are quick off the mark. We are very happy,” said Schut.
SuperSport United’s new signings - Thami Teyise, Clayton Daniels, Andile Fikizolo, Michael Morton and Lerato Manzini - were given a chance to play in a competitive match for Matsatsantsa a Pitori at the weekend. SuperSport coach Cavin Johnson left the stadium a confident man after good showings by his players.
“We had to look at all the new signings. Are they really quality? They all showed a lot of quality. That’s what is telling us we can go forward. Fikizolo looks good. His first season in the PSL. He has to come to the party. He has got nice character. Maybe we need to get some weight on him and he will be there,” said Johnson.
Last season SuperSport were weak in central defence but with the arrival of Daniels and Teyise, Johnson feels he will have a more solid defence next season.
“In defence, I think we are covered. We have Teyise, Daniels, Mour Diouf, Roscoe Peterson, Ennocent Mkhabela and the experience of Thabo September,” said the former Platinum Stars coach.
SuperSport had their number two goalkeeper Boalefa Pule in goal when they won the Gauteng Sports Challenge as regular Ronwen Williams was on trial in Germany. Johnson was impressed by Pule.
“We have always known that Pule is a great goalkeeper. Ronwen has always known that if Pule gets a chance, he is always out of the door. His job is there to push Ronwen and Ronwen is there to push him,” said Johnson.
SuperSport’s neighbours University of Pretoria also showed that they will be competitive next season after playing to a 2-2 draw with SuperSport before losing out on penalties.
“We are going to be very competitive,” said Tuks coach Steve Barker. “We held our own comfortably against one of the top five teams in the league.
“If that is any indication, we are going to be very competitive. We are a club that has a long term vision and plan.
“We want to consolidate our status and also advance to one of the finals. If our new signings fit in well, I believe we have the possibility of fighting for top eight again,” said Barker.
Even in the absence of three key players - Atusaye Nyondo, Geoffrey Massa and Mpho Matsi, Tuks were able to match SuperSport and compete. Barker says Tuks are two signings away from finalising their squad.
“We are about two players short of finalising our team,” said Barker, who is hoping to close in on Zimbabwean internationals Partson Jaure and Denver Mukamba.