sheppy in the fray

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Mamelodi Sundowns' Dillon Sheppard has been through a rough time in the past eight months, but the left-footed midfielder cannot wait to snatch his chance in this Saturday's Telkom Charity Cup in Mafikeng.

Sheppard sustained a horrific injury eight months ago, and with the signing of high-fliers Sibusiso Zuma and Benedict Vilakazi stealing the headlines, Sheppard's return to action in pre-season has been rather low key.

But with coach Trott Moloto singing Sheppard's praises, it would seem that Downs have missed the player known as "Sheppy".

"Dillon will surprise you on Saturday. He has done so well in pre-season matches. I can't wait to see him back in action in a competitive match," Moloto said.

"The player thinks the most daunting period has passed for him and is now keen to reward those who stood by him when times were difficult.

"After going through that, I now appreciate the supporters even more. As far as the competition for places in the team goes, I accept the challenge and have got my own goals to achieve as well as that of my team," Sheppard said.

The Charity Cup is all about goals and in Lerato Chabangu and Bryan Aldave, Moloto has the ammunition up front. Last season Aldave started in six matches and scored five goals. He is eager to improve on that performance.

"I am aware of the tournament's importance. My objective for this season is the same - play and score goals. I would also like to think I've contributed to my teammates' play," said Aldave.

"People are expecting a lot from this team and we should make our supporters happy. Luckily, the CAF tournament [Confederation Cup] has helped us with our fitness," said Chabangu.

Having already assembled a fearsome team, Moloto virtually confirmed that Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma is their player.

"We checked with his team and found out he has not played much. We also know he has not been active at his team, but we still brought him here and have put him on a fitness programme," said Moloto.