United in hunt

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

When champions elect SuperSport United went down 0-2 to AmaZulu at a crucial stage in their challenge for league honours, many thought the inevitable was on the cards.

But when Gavin Hunt's lads stormed back into the race at the expense of Orlando Pirates, it was clear that Matsatsantsa a Pitori meant business.

Now United face another tough test against their neighbours, defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, at Super Stadium, Atteridgeville, tonight.

Captain Ricardo Katza, who is back at training after being sidelined by injury, said since any hope of retaining the league title has gone up in smoke, Sundowns pose a big threat.

In Katza's absence, Thabo September has firmly entrenched himself and had a couple of man-of-the-match displays, and the captain is content to take on the cheerleading role for the time being.

"I have been with the club for five years now, but this season has been very good without me," he said.

Only the suspended Tefera Fikru, Letladi Madubanya and Shane Poggenpoel will be unavailable to Hunt, who still has the likes of Katlego Mashego, Daine Klate and Pelembe to turn to.

Downs' media and communications manager Mahlatsi Mphahlele said the match had all the makings of a great derby.

"This is a special game for Pretoria, featuring two well-balanced teams who play arguably the best kind of football in the country. It captures the supporters' imagination, and what more can you ask for? We are still going for a win, though," he said.

With Benson Mhlongo, Fanyana Dhladhla, Calvin Marlin, Robyn Johannes and Brent Carelse still out, Trott Moloto will have to depend on the likes of Manqoba Ngwenya, Elias Ngwepe and Philani Mpangase to extend his unbeaten run, since losing his first match at the helm, against Moroka Swallows in February.