Mamelodi Sundowns could not have had a more testing task as they seek to snap a four-match losing streak and take some pressure off the head of beleagured coach Johan Neeskens.
Wednesday’s Premier Soccer League clash against SuperSport United at Atteridgeville has now developed into much more than just a derby match.
Sundowns have had a horror start to the season which initially promise so much after they thrashed Kaizer Chiefs in their opening game in the MTN8 quarter-finals on the first weekend of Augyust.
For their last game – a last gasp defeat away at Lamontville Golden Arrows – they had nine players missing in a sign that there might be a disharmony the camp.
But at least three strikers are back for the midweek game, bolstering the forward lien considerably.
Edward Manqele, Nyasha Mushekwi and Eleazor Rodgers are all available again as Sundowns seek to get themselves out of a tight pickle. “There is a little bit of an option upfront,” said Neeskens on Tuesday to reporters, “But I’m not sure those coming back will be able to give a full 90 minutes.”
SuperSport have to put behind them the disappointment of cup final defeat at the weekend in a match they could easily have won.
The 2-1 loss to Moroka Swallows is not expected to impact too much on Gavin Hunt’s team where competition for places ensures that there is little time for morbid reflection on missed opportunities.
There will be changes as Hunt had suggested at the weekend already. “We have to change our approach a little bit. Sundowns are a very dangerous team,” he told reporters on the eve of the match.
“They have excellent players and they are a well-structured club. We can’t take them lightly. But we will have a little extra motivation because it’s a derby.”