JOHANNESBURG - At most of their home matches, SuperSport United go to the trouble of hanging up their players’ portraits and stats banners reminding all and sundry of what the club has achieved since their start of their involvement in the elite league.
Those banners hang on the passage walls, as Matsatsantsa players walk out of their locker room making their way to the tunnel, before going out onto the pitch.
And SuperSport defender Tefu Mashamaite admitted that the stats of of the club’s previous achievements on the domestic front, played a huge role in him joining Supersport late last year, following his return from Swedish side BK Hacken.
“For me, those stats are a constant reminder of what this club achieved in the past and what can still be achieved,” said Mashamaite. “That’s one of the reasons why I decided to join them. They are passionate about winning things.
“I recall when I was 20 years old, they won the first cup competition, the SA Super8, back in 2004. I also watched them when they won the Premiership title three times in a row. That was pretty special.
“And that’s why I decided to join them when I returned to South Africa. I believe we have a good squad to compete (for honours this season).”
“Masha”, as the veteran defender is affectionately known, was on the field in Kaizer Chiefs’ colours two seasons ago when the Tshwane side ended Amakhosi’s 19-game record unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory.
The Glamour Boys, though, went on to win the title with an impressive 69 points, with Masha also walking away as the big winner at the PSL awards at the end of that campaign.
The veteran defender, however, said that SuperSport’s priority is not necessarily to surpass Amakhosi’s record of having gone 19 league games unbeaten when they host Baroka FC on Saturday at Mbombela Stadium (kickoff 3pm), but their focus is primarily set on winning the league title at the end of the season.
“We are not worried about surpassing that record,” Mashamaite said.
“Our coach (Stuart Baxter) always stresses about going out there to give a good performance over everything else. And that’s one of the reasons why this team have been doing so well this season. Everybody is driven to win.”
It is that kind of motivation that makes SuperSport a force to be reckoned with.
As it stands, Baxter has played the defender three times this season - firstly, starting him in their first-leg CAF Confederation Cup qualifying tie against Al Ahly Shendi, and then against NFD side Royal Eagles in their Nedbank Cup last-32 encounter a few weeks ago.
In his third match, Masha scored in a 4-0 win against the Sudanese side, Shendi, a result which saw them progress to the next round of the continental club cup competition with an impressive 6-3 aggregate scoreline.
That goal, Masha said, served as confirmation to him that he was ready to start and fight for the team in the domestic league as they step up their challenge in the race for the title.
“Everybody in the team has been doing well and it’s quite difficult for the coach to make changes where there’s no need to.
“Don’t fix what’s not broken,” Mashamaite said.
“When they played me in all those matches, the coach opted to rest some of the other regulars who have been playing week in and week out.
“I grabbed that opportunity with both hands and ran with it.
“Scoring in that return leg meant one thing for me - and that is, I am ready to play more games should the coach be willing to exercise that option.”