/ 23 February 2010

SuperSport within sight of Premiership title

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt will have two words of advice for his players when they face BidVest Wits in their penultimate Absa Premiership match at the Super Stadium on Wednesday — “stay calm”.

Two points from their remaining two matches will enable SuperSport to clinch the Premiership for a third successive season, but three points on Wednesday would be the cherry on top of three outstanding seasons for Hunt and his players.

Hunt is determined to scoop three points against struggling Wits in their penultimate fixture and lift the trophy in front of his home fans. He has been through this scenario during the past two seasons where SuperSport let things slip and had to wait until the final day of the season to lift the championship.

Now he is determined to break that mould. “We want to finish the league championship in style and not leave it to the final day of the season. We will treat the Wits match as a cup final,” he said on Tuesday.

But Hunt stressed that despite the Students sitting dangerously close to the relegation/promotion playoffs zone, he would be taking nothing for granted.

“Every game for the past three seasons has been tough. Every side we play against have been difficult opponents and we will be treating this game against Wits as our most important match of the season.”

A race to the finish
SuperSport go into their penultimate fixture with only championship rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, four points behind them, needing United to lose both remaining matches and winning their two games to pip their Pretoria rivals for the title.

Said Hunt: “Like in the past two seasons we have our fate in our own hands. This time we must not slip and make it difficult for ourselves.

“The four point cushion is important and gives us added breathing space. But we know that we have to go out there against a Wits side that will be uncompromising and do the business.

“The last thing we will do is underestimate Wits. They have always proved a difficult side to beat and I expect them to come at us.”

Hunt is still minus star striker Glen Salmon, who is sidelined with a long-term injury but in goal scoring midfielders Jabu Maluleke, Daine Klate and Brent Carelse, United have back up.

That, despite the fact his Liberian striker, Anthony Laffor, has failed to fire this season having scored only seven goals. Laffor has been on the bench for the last three matches and is expected to start on the bench against Wits.

Wits coach Roger de Sa has promised to make a fight of the match but should United score an early goal, the Students will fold.

Big-spending Sundowns have slipped by drawing their last two matches and have all but conceded the title is heading back to United for a third season. But Downs should collect three more point when they face bottom-side Jomo Cosmos at the Rand Stadium on Wednesday.

Defeat for Cosmos would officially see them relegated to the National First Division after gaining promotion at the end of last season.

Second-bottom Mpumalanga Black Aces, who have 25 points, four more that Cosmos, face Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus (7.30pm) and defeat for Aces would condemn them to the relegation/promotion playoffs. — Sapa