JOHANNESBURG – Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns will be eager to bring back three points when they travel to Port Elizabeth to face Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tomorrow (8:15pm).
Sundowns haven’t had a convincing start to their title defence, as they registered five draws and two wins in their seven matches so far. It’s quite disappointing for a team that was winning matches and scoring goals for fun in their successful pursuit of a record eighth Premier Soccer League championship last season.
Coach Pitso Mosimane has stressed the hardships of trying to find new combinations following the departures of Khama Billiat and Percy Tau, who joined Kaizer Chiefs and English side Brighton and Hove Albion respectively. They also have to complete the rest of the season without influential midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The Brazilians are high on confidence after progressing to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals but they’ll have to put in a good performance against Chippa. Chilli Boys coach Eric Tinkler knows that getting maximum points or at least a draw against Sundowns will likely buy him time with trigger-happy chairman Siviwe Mpengesi.
Meanwhile, another Tshwane-based side, SuperSport United, will be hoping to register their first victory in the Absa Premiership since being beaten by Cape Town City in the MTN8 final when they welcome Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday (3:30pm).
After that disappointment at Moses Mabhida Stadium almost a month ago, SuperSport have only registered two draws in their league encounters while they also needed the lottery of penalties to progress to the Telkom Knockout’s quarter-finals. Coach Keitano Tembo knows that they have to quickly register a win, especially if they are to avoid their post-final hoodoo syndrome as they found themselves flirting with relegation until the last day of the previous season after losing to TP Mazembe in the CAF Confederations Cup final.
Arrows won’t be walkovers as they are still upset after squandering a lead against Free State Stars at Goble Park Stadium on Wednesday night. Tenth on the log standing after two wins, five draws and three losses - coach Clinton Larsen understands that they have to start picking up wins if they are to finish in the top-eight this season.
During the last campaign they only secured a top-eight spot courtesy of the Tendai Ndoro saga.@Mihlalibaleka