SuperSport United looking to return to winning ways

FILE PICTURE: Bevan Fransman Mbombela Stadium on August 11, 2013 in Nelspruit, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

FILE PICTURE: Bevan Fransman Mbombela Stadium on August 11, 2013 in Nelspruit, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

SuperSport United skipper Bevan Fransman says he and his team are looking to bounce back from a midweek defeat to Bidvest Wits when the Pretoria side host Kenya’s AFC Leopards in their Caf Confederations Cup first round tie on Saturday.

Matsatsantsa went down 3-2 to the 10-man Clever Boys on Tuesday evening, having led their opponents in the first half, before a hat-trick from Sibusiso Vilakazi turned the result on its head, which allowed the home side to steal the three points in Johannesburg.

On Saturday, however, United will look to continue their African journey with a win over Kenya’s representatives, following a solid start to the continental Cup competition.

“It’s important. Maybe it’s a good thing that we’re playing so soon after that disaster [against Wits]… I’d call it a disaster,” Fransman said ahead of Saturday’s 8.15pm kick-off at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

“Maybe it’s a good thing to get it off the mind, get it out the system, get back on the field playing and put things right, get back to winning ways.”

United marched into the first round following a comfortable 3-0 aggregate victory over Gaborone United over two legs, with Senegalese striker Mame Niang netting on all three occasions.

Fransman admits Leopards pose somewhat of an unknown threat to the Pretoria club, but was confident that the SuperSport technical team would have sufficient video analysis on their visitors before Saturday’s tie.

“We don’t have much information on them yet, but hopefully our analysts can bring some information back and inform us over the next two days more about them,” the lanky centre-back said.

United face a further complication, in the form of a congested fixture list, which has been unkind of late.

The former Premiership champions have been on the go since the beginning of the new year and have played no fewer than 10 fixtures in that period, with three major trophies — the league, Nedbank Cup and Confederations Cup — still up for grabs and very much within the team’s grasp.

Speaking at the draw for the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup, where SuperSport were pitted against a tough opponent in Moroka Swallows, Fransman acknowledged that the three tournament were taking a toll on the team.

“It’s not the most ideal draw, but I don’t think any game was going to be ideal,” Fransman said of facing a fellow top-flight team in the second round of the knockout competition.

“We have to deal with it, it’s part of football… we can’t change the schedule.

“At the moment, I wish we could have a week’s break, but it’s the nature of the business. You have to prepare yourself, [and] prepare your body to take it.”

Leopards, meanwhile, disposed of Ethiopia’s Defence FC in the preliminary round to seal their progression, although the east Africans head down south without the services of Allan Wanga, who picked up a knee injury during a training session on Wednesday and looks likely to miss the first leg.

Wanga was the architect of two stunning goals in Addis Ababa a fortnight ago, which paved the way for Leopards’ safe passage into the next round.

Leopards were due to land in the country on Friday, after pleading with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to move the fixture to Sunday, in order to allow the visitors time to prepare for the clash.

Caf declined, leaving Leopards in a race against time to secure their necessary documentation to travel to South Africa, which the club confirmed would only be late Friday afternoon.

– Sapa




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