Battling SuperSport United brace themselves for high-riding Mamelodi Sundowns

SuperSport United head coach Gavin Hunt

FILE - SuperSport United head coach Gavin Hunt. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 12, 2024


Following a breathtaking Soweto derby that lived up to all the pre-match billing with drama, quality and an avalanche of goals, next comes arguably the more intriguing rivalry in recent history.

SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns will renew their distaste for each other in yet another instalment of the Tshwane derby on Tuesday night in the DStv Premiership and although lacking deserved hype, meetings between these two teams have been memorable.

The two clubs will head into this fixture in contrasting form, however, as SuperSport dropped two points against AmaZulu, denying them their first win in the six matches they’ve played this year. Matsatsantsa a Pitori coach Gavin Hunt just has not been able to inspire his players in the new year, following a fairly decent opening stanza in 2023.

Hunt made three changes at the half-time break to inject energy and a fresh sense of creativity to snatch any type of result against AmaZulu.

The draw against Usuthu, however, means that the Pretoria outfit have now lost one and drawn five of their matches this year, save for a penalty shootout triumph against Cape Town City in the last 32 round of the Nedbank Cup. The most worrying statistic in that run are the goals which the club have leaked.

Matsatsantsa have conceded in each of their last 20 matches in all competitions, leaking 30 goals in that period, which is a far cry from the standard of Hunt’s greatest teams of the past.

Given that SuperSport are coming up against the most formidable and highest-scoring attacking unit in arguably the continent, that restless defence will be put to the ultimate test against a Sundowns side looking to go 15 points clear at the top.

Sundowns and coach Rulani Mokwena took another step towards securing their unprecedented dominance of the Premiership, when they brushed aside Chippa United 2-0 on Saturday. It was another impressive display, this time built on the performance of their overwhelmingly talented squad.

January signing Tashreeq Matthews grabbed his first goal for the club and rounded off the scoring after coming off the bench for another recent arrival, Thembinkosi Lorch.

It will be interesting to see whether the enigmatic Mokwena will again shuffle his pack due to the pending last-16 Nedbank Cup meeting against Motsepe Foundation Championship side Maritzburg United. The Brazilians have lost only one of their last 10 meetings with SuperSport.

United, meanwhile, will head into this encounter with a mild selection headache as well, with Richards Bay looking for a spark of inspiration to give meaning to their season when they meet Matsatsantsa in the Nedbank Cup as well.

The club are five-time winners of that competition in all their different guises and are expected to prioritise it in a period where they are churning out more future stars.


IOL Sport