New PSL season: Can perennial pretenders SuperSport become crowned?
It is now more than a decade since SuperSport United won the first of three back-to-back titles‚ the only club to have ever achieved that in South African football.
But in more recent times the club have become more of cup specialists.
When punters discuss the clubs in contention for the Absa Premiership championship at the end of the season‚ SuperSport always seem to slip into the conversation‚ even if it is without much conviction.
This is again the case‚ as a study of their squad suggests a team brimming with quality but without the necessary swagger to convince they could go all the way come to the end of the season.
Coach Kaitano Tembo gets another vote of confidence from management but it is obvious they have tightened the purse strings.
There are suggestions of at least two more signings but to date SuperSport have made just three purchases – youngster Jesse Donn from Ubuntu Cape Town‚ who will train with the first team but play for the MDC side; and the Orlando Pirates pair of Thamsanqa Gabuza and Kudakwashe Mahachi.
There was also an end-of-season clean-out with Richard Boateng‚ Morgan Gould‚ James Keene and Reneilwe Letsholonyane all released.
SuperSport are a structured team with the influence of Stuart Baxter still obvious‚ even though he left some three years ago now.
They do try to get onto the attack as quickly as they can but are also focused on ensuring they are not caught cold at the back.
Dean Furman’s linkman role can never be underestimated plus the team’s reputation at setpieces.
But these days they are not as proficient as in the Gavin Hunt era when the likes of Daine Kate and Jabu Maluleke delivered such pinpoint balls.
The first month of football for SuperSport could be make-or-break as the club have arguably the toughest opening 30-day programme of all the other teams.
A tough start awaits on Saturday for the club against champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Although the derby is being played at Atteridgeville‚ it is Sundowns’ home game.
Then they meet Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in successive league games‚ interceded by an MTN8 tie away at Bidvest Wits.
To add to the degree of difficulty‚ SuperSport must also take the bus trip to Polokwane to meet Baroka FC before the end of the month.