united on track for hat-trick

SUPERSPORT United are still on track for a hat-trick of Absa Premiership titles.

SUPERSPORT United are still on track for a hat-trick of Absa Premiership titles.

United coach Gavin Hunt said yesterday that he was surprised by the media hype after the defending champions were beaten 1-0 by their nearest challengers and Pretoria neighbours Mamelodi Sundowns in their last match in December before the five-week break.

"I was quite amused by all the fuss over us losing," he said.

"We are still top of the league and we are not in the least worried about the last six matches that remain in the programme. Nor am I concerned about losing to Sundowns.

"We should have beaten them, but we slipped up.

"That result is not a train smash - far from it - and we are still three points ahead of (second-placed) Sundowns with a massive goal difference so we are well on track.

"We are back in training and I am confident we will still be top when the league is finished on February 28."

United resume their Premiership campaign against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on February 3.

Hunt said: "Every side has six tough games to complete, so it is the same for everyone and the fact we slipped up against Sundowns is ancient history. I will not dwell on that, rather we are moving forward. Pirates will be tough but we know what to expect and will be well prepared."

Hunt said playing in the opening round of the African Champions League against Swaziland's Mbabane Swallows next month will not upset his players' rhythm.

United play the first leg against the Swazi champions in Mbabane on February 14 and the return leg at Atteridgeville's Super Stadium on February 28.

Hunt, who is determined to get into the quarterfinal group stage of the Champions League, said he will rest his five Bafana Bafana players for both legs.

"The five players in the Bafana camp will get a break as I reckon I have enough depth in the squad to get past the team from Swaziland.

"I do not see any problems getting past them in the opening round and that is why I can afford to rest my Bafana players."

One of the league's top goal-scorers, Daine Klate, is among United's players in the Bafana Bafana squad. - Sapa