JOHANNESBURG - Travelling the continent in their quest to claim glory in the Caf Confederation Cup has united Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
SuperSport United have earned themselves a reputation for coming through tough situations, showing character in the quarter-finals of this tournament when they came back twice against ZESCO United of Zambia.
On Sunday, they will face Tunisian giants Club Africain in the second leg of the semi-finals after the first leg ended 1-1 at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria. SuperSport had to also come back from a goal down in that encounter to snatch a draw.
The fairy-tale story of SuperSport's comebacks doesn’t end there. Matsatsantsa were compelled to dig deep this past weekend in the final of the MTN8 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
SuperSport were trailing Cape Town City by Sibusiso Masina's solitary strike but Thabo Mnyamane snatched the equaliser for United at the end of regulation time, forcing the match into extra-time and then penalties, which they duly won 4-2.
They will have to do so again away in Tunisia this weekend as Africain hold a slight advantage due to the away goal rule. SuperSport skipper Dean Furman elaborated on the success of his team's character.
“That’s what we are about. When you look at the man next to you, you know you can rely on him," Furman said. "That’s what we’ve created at SuperSport. We built that through our travels in Africa. The Confederation Cup has brought us closer together off the pitch, which has led to our spirit on the field of play. We are showing that and we showed that (on Saturday against Cape Town City).
"We went through the pain barrier (in the MTN8 final). The boys were suffering from cramps and we went to 10 men for extra-time. We hung on and once we went to penalties, with Ronwen Williams in goal, we knew we had to slot our own because he was going to save one. For us as outfield players that gives us confidence,” a jubilant Furman explained after the game.
SuperSport left on Thuesday morning morning for Dubai, where they will catch a connecting flight to Tunis.
With Andile Jali and Bongani Zungu likely to miss out on two crucial World Cup qualifiers because of injury, Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter may be forced to use Furman and Hlompo Kekana at the heart of midfield.
Bafana are lying at the bottom of Group D with four points after four matches. They need six points against Senegal to qualify for the World Cup after the victory against Burkina Faso gave them huge boost.
“When there’s hope there’s always a chance," Furman enthused. "The dream to Russia is still alive. We have two crucial games and who says we can’t do it. We believe that we can. We believe we can go and get victory in both matches.
"Whoever is selected will have a difficult task. We will fight for our country and for that shirt. Everyone’s dream is to go to Russia and we will be fighting with everything we got to there.”