Sundowns prove depth of squad

It might only have been an inconsequential unofficial tournament, but Mamelodi Sundowns' success in Durban at the weekend without nine top players, may have left their rivals looking on with some envy.

It might only have been an inconsequential unofficial tournament, but Mamelodi Sundowns' success in Durban at the weekend without nine top players, may have left their rivals looking on with some envy.

And, after convincing victories against Wits University and AmaZulu, Sundowns technical director Ted Dumitru had good cause yesterday for proclaiming "we could field two line-ups in the Premier League without there being much difference in the strength of the two".

Dumitru feels this depth-in-talent could be decisive as Sundowns aim to extend their PSL record of five Premier League titles this season with a squad of approximately 30 top-line players.

Among those missing in the King's Cup when Downs beat AmaZulu 2-0 in the final were formidable first-choice players such as Mbulelo Mabizela, Surprise Moriri, Sibusiso Zuma and Siboniso Gaxa, all on duty for Bafana Bafana against Nigeria, and midfield grafter Esrom Nyandoro, who was playing for Zimbabwe against Guinea.

"Particularly pleasing in Durban," said Dumitru, "was the return after serious injuries of goalkeeper Calvin Marlin and Dillon Sheppard, with both giving impressive performances."

Dumitru conceded it could be a problem sorting out the best possible line-up, in the circumstances - starting with the Premier League game against AmaZulu at the Super Stadium on Saturday night and then the R8million winner-takes-all MTN8 final against Kaizer Chiefs.

"But it is an enviable problem," he added, "and we should come up with a pretty formidable mix in the end."

The Sundowns technical director said a series of friendly games would be organised to ensure all the players are kept match-fit, but added it was a shame the PSL has not yet implemented reserve and youth leagues. -Sapa

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