Getting Sundowns up to speed

FIT-AGAIN Punch Masenamela will be among the new faces in camp when Mamelodi Sundowns begin their pre-season programme next week.

After a three-week break, Downs players return to the saddle to start preparations for a programme that will take them as far as Ghana and Lesotho.

But the first stop will be Polokwane, where some of the new players, such as Bryce Moon, Dove Wome, Cuthbert Malajila, Kennedy Mweene and Rashid Sumaila, will be initiated into the team.

Masenamela has been kept out of the game by a knee injury since December, but will now join the team in camp, having fully recovered.

The Brazilians have gone on their usual shopping spree, as coach Pitso Mosimane goes about strengthening his squad for the new season.

League top scorer Katlego "Mahoota" Mashego could join the Tshwane giants in their pre-season tour, as negotiations for his transfer from Moroka Swallows are said to be at an advanced stage.

But Moroka Swallows' chief executive Leon Prins said: "That's interesting, as Mashego is still under contract with us. They did approach us at one stage but nothing came out of it."

There will be several casualties at Sundowns, with the likes of Ghanaian pair Mumuni Abubakar and Emmanuel Baffour, as well as Musa Nyatama, Clayton Daniels and Samuel Julies, are set to leave and create space for the new recruits.

Julies, however, will be among the youngsters to be loaned out to get more game time. The list includes Themba Zwane, Wandile Letlabika and Abel Mabaso.

Newly promoted Polokwane City have already made inquiries for the services of some of the peripheral figures at Chloorkop.

Nyatama is still undecided on his next move as interest from Orlando Pirates and other Premiership teams appears to have dried up.

The team will report back at Chloorkop on Monday and travel to Polokwane on June 30 before flying out to Ghana on July 12.

Lebohang Mokoena will miss the pre-season having suffered a setback with his hip injury.

Mokoena completed his five months of post-operative rehabilitation and begun the last phase of his recovery plan last month.

But it could be some time before the former Bafana winger returns to action.