Johannesburg - Having watched powerlessly from the sidelines for much of last season, fit again Katlego Mashego will enter the coming campaign determined to reclaim his title as the Premiership's top goal-scorer.
"Last season I could only watch anxiously as my teammates brought home the championship," the Mamelodi Sundowns striker said.
"I think this season the strikers will have to step up. I will give it my all and do my best help us defend our title. As a striker my job is to score the goals and I plan to score as many as possible."
Suffering a niggling groin injury halfway through last season, Mashego was outscored by Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker, whose 10 goals for his club went unchallenged.
The sharpshooting Mashego finished with seven goals, despite missing out on the last 14 matches.
With a goal ratio of seven out of 11 starts, the poaching lefty displayed the potential to add another eight to his tally, giving him the chance to successfully defend his crown from the 2012/13 season.
"We came to a point where we just said taking a risk is just not worth it. So I was forced to take some time off and focus on getting back to full fitness,” Mashego said.
He finished the previous season on top with 13 league goals for his former club Moroka Swallows.
After joining Sundowns at the beginning of last season, Mashego played no active role during the club's home stretch towards the Premiership title victory.
But Mahoota, as he was affectionately known, believed each player, including himself, played a part in clinching the championship.
“It took a huge effort from the entire squad for us to win. Every player was kept on his toes and had to be ready when called upon,” the 32-year-old said.
“We have a huge squad at Sundowns and as players we challenge each other all the time to play at a high level at all times.”
Last season’s championship was Mashego’s third title, having previously won with SuperSport United in the 2007/2008 season and with Orlando Pirates during 2010/2011.
With the Sundowns players set to gather next week for their pre-season training, Mashego said it was going to be a very demanding season because of the club’s lofty ambitions.
Ending a seven-year championship drought in May, Sundowns had qualified for the Caf Champions League -- a trophy highly sought after by billionaire club owner Patrice Motsepe.
At the end of the month, Mashego and his club would tour various north African nations in preparation for their continental obligations.
“Our club is hungry for more success having suffered for so many years without a trophy. The title win gave us a huge confidence boost.”