JOHANNESBURG – Dean Furman conceded that, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium tonight when his club SuperSport United take on Kaizer Chiefs in the quarter-finals of the MTN8, they will be outnumbered in the stands – Amakhosi’s legion of fans outdoing Matsatsantsa’s small loyal group.
But the SuperSport skipper maintained the margins for ambition between the two clubs over the years were now almost non-existent.
In the Premier Soccer League era, Chiefs have won the championship four times – that’s one more title than SuperSport.
And in the past two years, Amakhosi have failed to win any silverware, while Furman and his teammates have won back-to-back Nedbank Cup trophies.
“We are looking to compete at the highest level in this country,” said Furman this week. “In Durban we are expecting a thousand of our supporters and the rest will be theirs, but we thrive in that kind of environment.
"Chiefs are a top side and we faced them three times last season and were similarly matched because we drew and beat them on penalties in a cup match. On the day it will depend on the tactics.”
To support his argument that SuperSport continue to look to improve, Furman confirmed he was close to signing a new contract with the club.
“I am very happy here,” he explained.
“And I am incredibly honoured to be the captain. I don’t want to go anywhere at the moment, so hopefully I can sign the contract in the next few days. There’s ambition here. Yes, it is hard to compete with the traditionally big teams, but I think we are doing well.”
Furman has also backed new coach Eric Tinkler to help them be consistent enough to avoid falling off the title chase as early as they did last season under Stuart Baxter, who is now the Bafana Bafana coach.
SuperSport finished fifth, one spot behind Chiefs, but saved their season with the Nedbank Cup triumph over Orlando Pirates in June.
“They are two different coaches, which means there will be slightly different approaches,” said Furman in discussing Tinkler and Baxter.
"Eric certainly wants the more expansive type of play like we saw last season when he was with Cape Town City.
He has laid down the gauntlet for us and reminded us that in five games we can be in two cup finals because we are still playing in the quarters of the CAF Confederation Cup.
"He had a great career as a player, especially with Bafana and knows the continent very well. What better person to guide us than Eric?
"He has told us we can do it and we don’t want to be associated with the word fatigue when we look at our schedule. Our early targets wouldn’t be a bad way to start a season.”