The bar has been raised, Hunt says

The 2008-2009 Premier Soccer League season is going to be the toughest ever.

The 2008-2009 Premier Soccer League season is going to be the toughest ever.

Coach Gavin Hunt of defending champions SuperSport United said yesterday that the bar had been raised with leading clubs making big signings in the off-season. Hunt sees big-spending Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates as the main threat to United retaining their title.

But, he added: "It would be foolish to forget about the likes of Ajax Cape Town and Santos, who showed they are top-class sides and worthy of respect."

Ajax finished runners-up and Santos third in last year's standings but United's main threat in the new season is likely to come from Sundowns who have brought in 12 players, including Bafana Bafana stars Sibusiso Zuma, Benedict Vilakazi, Katlego Mphela, Thando Mngomeni and Mozambican striker Dario Monterio.

Said Hunt: "With the amount of money Sundowns have spent they should win the league by 10 points. Chiefs impressed me in the recent Vodacom Challenge. They are a lot stronger this season and will be harder to beat. Pirates have bought a lot of decent players and I expect them also to be up there challenging us."

United have been playing in a number of pre-season tournaments, getting ready and fit for the new season.

But the PSL has delayed launching their new top eight cup scheduled to kick off the new PSL season.

PSL spokesman Altaaf Kazi said yesterday that the launch of the new top eight cup scheduled for Monday had been delayed. He admitted it was getting tight but promised that the competition would be launched early next week and the cup would kick off next weekend. - Sapa