All eyes on the Tshwane derby

Rival captains Dean Furman and Hlompho Kekana gear up for battle tomorrow./Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Rival captains Dean Furman and Hlompho Kekana gear up for battle tomorrow./Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

There is a high possibility that Thamsanqa Gabuza will make his SuperSport United debut against Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

Having joined SuperSport from Orlando Pirates barely five weeks ago, Gabuza, 32, appears to have already earned the trust of coach Kaitano Tembo at Matsatsantsa.

The SuperSport mentor has dropped a hint that he may alter the team's style of play to accommodate Gabuza, who managed only 11 strikes in 95 Bucs appearances across all tournaments since transferring from Golden Arrows in August 2013.

"In terms of our approach, if you look at last season, especially in the second half of the season, we played with two in the midfield and two upfront,'' said Tembo.

"Probably that's the direction we want to try and take coming into the new season, especially having Gabuza, who is also a strong guy . can play with someone like Bradley [Grobler] or Evans [Rusike].''

Perhaps Gabuza will be SuperSport's secret weapon against Downs, with Sundowns having always dominated the Tshwane derby. Matsatsantsa have only won one of their last six league clashes with the Brazilians.

It can only motivate Tembo's charges that their last victory over their cross-town rivals came in their last meeting in April when they claimed a 2-0 win away at Loftus.

Meanwhile, as they target a record 10th league title by defending their title, Downs are aiming for a perfect start.

Skipper Hlompho Kekana underlined the significance of a strong start, also eyeing an individual milestone of winning his seventh league trophy.

"The first game of the season is always vital . it sets the tone. This season is about us trying to be as consistent as we can,'' said Kekana.

"It'd be nice to win the 10th league title. We want to be remembered as a generation that brought so many trophies at the club. To be honest, it'd be nice to win the seventh one, personally.''

Matsatsantsa captain Dean Furman feels the dominance of Downs is at threat as teams are slowly closing the gap on the defending champions.

"I think teams are getting closer [to match Downs] . teams are certainly trying to close the gap,'' said Furman.

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