Saturday afternoon’s Tshwane derby between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns is branded as a rare top-of-the-table clash as two points separate the capital city rivals, with defending champions, Masandawana, setting the pace at the top of the DStv Premiership.
Sundowns’ co-head coach, Rulani Mokwena, however, has decided to turn a blind eye to Matsatsantsa A Pitori’s position on the log, insisting that they are not reading much into it could be deceptive.
“We don’t analyse teams based on their log positions because that does not really tell you much at this point in the season. You can already see that they had a very decent start in the season and they have quietly gone about their business with a lot of tactical flexibility,” said Mokwena.
What Mokwena fears, however, is the potent combination of Bradley Grobler and Thamsanqa Gabuza, who share 14 league goals between them, and the fact that SuperSport is the only team to have scored the joint-highest number of goals, 19, so far this season.
Grobler, in particular, is enjoying a great run of form as he just broke the club’s long standing top goalscorer record.
“They can play with two strikers, Grobler and Gabuza, who complement each other extremely well. They can also stretch their last line-up front with Grobler, Gabuza and Ghampani Lungu and look to overload the midfield with Jamie Webber, Teboho Mokoena and Sipho Mbule. When you play against a midfield three, you have to look for other areas where you can exploit spaces so we have to prepare for that,” Mokwena explained.
Meanwhile, SuperSport coach Kaitano Tembo does not mind carrying the underdog tag going into the Tshwane derby but insists that his team will be no pushovers and are capable of being the first team to land the knockout blow on their foes as the Brazilians are still walking on water.
“This fixture is always quite a difficult game for us as we have played about three games in seven days, which is tough and we’re coming up against a team that is well-rested. They have a lot of quality in the team but we are in the right frame of mind to be able to give as much as we can on the day. We are looking forward to a very tough game and we are ready for them,” Tembo said, before he went on to pin his hopes on The Spartans’ lethal duo.
“I am quite pleased with Bradley and Gabuza’s contribution and I know that Bradley is just continuing from last season in terms of scoring goals and I am happy for Gabuza as well, given where he comes from and his history of missing opportunities. He has now scored five goals in five games. Right now they are both playing to their strengths and are growing in confidence and I am happy that we are going into this game with both of them high in confidence.”