Sundowns are excited to be close to winning the title. But even if they win on Tuesday, the trophy will only be handed out at the end of the season.
Emotions will be high when Mamelodi Sundowns tackle SuperSport United in a Premiership fixture at Loftus Versveld on Tuesday, says Teko Modise.
The Sundowns midfielder said the players were excited to be only one game away from lifting the league trophy. “It’s one of those games where it’s going to be very emotional because we know the importance of it,” Modise said on Monday. “We know what can happen if we win it or what can happen if we lose it. We’re just one game away from realising our dream and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Following back-to-back league titles in 2006 and 2007, Sundowns were on the verge of wrapping up their first Premiership title in seven years.
Pitso Mosimane’s side lead defending champions Kaizer Chiefs by four points with two games left. A win on Tuesday would see Sundowns lift the trophy, regardless of Chiefs’ outcome against the University of Pretoria in Nelspruit.
Should the Brazilians only manage a draw against SuperSport, Mosimane’s troops will have to rely on their younger brothers at Tuks to hold Amakhosi to a draw. But with a tricky SuperSport United – who themselves have plenty to play for and will be looking to secure a top eight finish – lying in wait, Mosimane may not have it all his own way at Loftus. Chiefs will hope SuperSport do them a favour by beating the Brazilians, which would take the season down to the final weekend.
Mosimane, who began his Premier Soccer League (PSL) career along with Modise at SuperSport United, said he had mixed feelings heading into Tuesday’s game. “It’s an emotional feeling because we both started our Premiership careers at SuperSport United,” Mosimane said. “You have that soft part ... whenever I see SuperSport United playing, I have memories of my time there.
Try to forget
“There’s lots of history there. [But] we moved on with our lives and that was then. It’s an on/off switch, you try to forget and we’re trying to make new history at Sundowns.”
Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, who all but gave up the chase to defend the title last week, believed the Amakhosi could still take plenty of positives from their difficult season – where the Glamour Boys also missed out on defending their Nedbank Cup title over the weekend.
“I think the players have done an unbelievable job in very trying circumstances,” Baxter said. “We, the same as our supporters, want silverware and when you don’t get it, you’re both disappointed and frustrated. There have been a lot of positives. I think if you had been a Kaizer Chiefs supporter this season, you’ve had a lot to shout about.”
At the other end of the table, bottom-placed Golden Arrows travel across town to meet fellow Durban side AmaZulu, with nothing less than a win able to keep them in the race to avoid relegation. Four points ahead of Arrows and second from last, Free State Stars host Orlando Pirates, while Polokwane City, in 14th position, are at home to Moroka Swallows. Two points separate City and Stars and three points for either side could almost guarantee them Premiership status next season.
Meanwhile, PSL’s head of communications Lux September said on Monday the trophy would only be handed out at the end of the season. “Even if a club has mathematically won before May 10, the trophy will not be handed over straight away. We will not be handing out the trophy [on Tuesday].”
Premiership fixtures: Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United (Loftus Versfeld), University of Pretoria v Kaizer Chiefs (Mbombela Stadium), AmaZulu v Golden Arrows (Moses Mabhida Stadium), Free State Stars v Orlando Pirates (Charles Mopeli Stadium), Bloemfontein Celtic v Ajax Cape Town (Free State Stadium), Polokwane City v Moroka Swallows (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium), Wits v Maritzburg United (Bidvest Stadium). All matches kick off at 7.30pm. – Sapa