Former Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United goalkeeper Calvin Marlin believes the Tshwane Derby is always a tough game to play because both teams will want to clam the bragging rights, but he admitted that the pressure is on the Brazilians.
The 42-year-old Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper coach says the Tshwane giants will have to fight harder for maximum points and must guard against complacency.
“Well, as much as Sundowns are under pressure to collect the points, they are used to the pressure because they have been under such situations for a few years now,” Marlin told Goal .
“There is Caf Champions League, the league and they have been involved in Cup competitions as well. I think they are experienced and used to that idea of taking every game as a Cup final,” said the Urban Warriors goalkeeper coach.
“I have been looking at their last few games; they have been tough and they are now heading to the Derby. We all know a Derby is always tough and the pressure is on Sundowns to collect the points and close the gap,” reacted the Port Elizabeth-born.
“For SuperSport, yes, they drew this past weekend (against Polokwane City) and they are not playing for anything, to be honest, but to have the bragging rights in Tshwane. So, the pressure is on Sundowns because SuperSport will play with more freedom and a win will help their confidence,” said the ex-SuperSport keeper.
Speaking about the Brazilians, who are fresh from overcoming Al Ahly in the Champions League, Marlin reckons they can carry their continental momentum into the domestic campaign.
Sundowns now trail log leaders, Orlando Pirates with six points but have three games in hand.
However, facing Matsatsantsa this week will not be an easy challenge for coach Pitso Mosimane’s side.
“It normally happens that way for Sundowns. When they do well in Africa, they can carry their form into the league and they know they will have to work very hard for the points,” reckoned Marlin.
“There’s no doubt they are confident and the coach will ensure they are not overconfident, but to respect their opponents and work for the results,” he continued.
“Fortunately, coach Pitso has quality and depth in the team. He will rotate the squad to get the desired results on the day, it’s really nothing new to them,” he said.
Moreover, the former Bafana Bafana netminder says the Buccaneers have worked really hard to remain at the top, yet he prefers to have points rather than games in hand.
“In football, we always say you’d rather have the points than games in hand and Pirates have a good advantage as the log table suggests,” reacted the 42-year-old legend.
“They are sitting pretty at the top and it’s up to Sundowns to fight harder and challenge them. Yes, three games in hand are good and give you that confidence that if you win them then the table will change, but it will not be easy. However, I believe Sundowns can give their best based on their experience when it comes to challenging for the championship,” concluded the goalkeeper coach.