Monday Jan 02, 2023. 12:00
Mamelodi Sundowns will back themselves to extend their winning streak in the DStv Premiership when they host Swallows FC in one of four matches scheduled for the afternoon and evening of Tuesday 3 January.
The Brazilians showed no signs of rust when they returned to competitive action last Friday with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Orlando Pirates – a result which kept them five points clear at the head of the table and extended their run of successive league victories to seven.
An eighth looks very likely for the reigning champions, who welcome to Loftus Versfeld Stadium a Swallows team which was beaten 1-0 by Richards Bay (Sundowns’ nearest chasers on the log table) – though head coach Rulani Mokwena insists they will be taking nothing for granted.
“Our focus is on the preparations, and I think as a team we’ve done a great job to try and assist the players to prepare for the game and make sure we give out a good performance,” said the Brazilians’ boss.
Perhaps the pick of the day’s matches comes from DHL Stadium in the late afternoon, as Cape Town City host SuperSport United. Both teams claimed hard-earned victories (2-1 over Royal AM and 1-0 over Marumo Gallants respectively) this past weekend.
Matsatsantsa will hope to claim second spot on the log with a win (with Bay not in action this midweek), while Citizens coach Eric Tinkler will want his team to build momentum in 2023.
“There was a lot of anxiety from everyone leading up to this game after this mid-season break. It leaves a lot of doubt, obviously, in your mind; is the team ready or is it not? Especially when you finished off with a poor result against Marumo Gallants (in October) and then obviously getting knocked out of the African Confederation Cup,” said Tinkler.
“It’s been hard work these five weeks, trying to bring positivity back into the team. I think I saw that over the last couple of weeks, a lot of positivity, good intensity in the training but I don’t think we were at our best. Our passing wasn’t great, and we gave away possession. We created one or two good opportunities in the first half. But ultimately, you know, we didn’t look effective.”
Tuesday will also feature Royal AM hosting TS Galaxy at Chatsworth Stadium (with the hosts looking to avoid a sixth defeat from their last seven games), and Sekhukhune United hosting Marumo Gallants in a derby at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
DStv Premiership midweek fixtures
Tuesday 3 January
17:00: Cape Town City v SuperSport United
19:30: Mamelodi Sundowns v Swallows FC
19:30: Royal AM v TS Galaxy
19:30: Sekhukhune United v Marumo Gallants