United set their target

2009-04-07 10:38

Johannesburg - SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt is targeting 10 points from his club's last five games to retain the Absa Premiership title.

Hunt is hoping to pick up three of those points when they play unpredictable Moroka Swallows at the Pretoria University Stadium on Wednesday night. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

United are odds-on favourites to win the title back-to-back after their nearest challengers, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, both dropped points at the weekend. Amakhosi drew 0-0 at Rustenburg's Olympia Park on Saturday while Bucs drew 1-1 with relegation-threatened Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free State Stadium on Sunday. SuperSport, with 49 points, are five ahead of second-placed Bucs and have eight more points than Chiefs.

Said Hunt: "I am not worried about the chasing pack as I am only concerned with my team. I figure that 10 points from the remainder of the season will do the trick."

United did not have a league match this weekend as they were involved in an African Champions League second round, second leg clash against Ugandan champions Kampala City Council at Milpark on Saturday night.

The Premier Soccer League champions, who lost the away leg two weeks ago 2-1, were shocked and held to a 1-1 draw and went out of the continent's most prestigious club competition 3-2 on aggregate.

Said Hunt: "We have moved on and are looking forward not backwards. I admit I was bitterly disappointed when we drew that game against the Ugandans. I badly wanted to do well in the Champions League this year. We were the better side in both legs but the consolation for me is that we created countless goal scoring chances and, if we can score just a couple of those chance against Swallows, I will be happy. But the champions League is history and we have forgotten it and want to get on with winning the league."

Hunt is hoping that Glen Salmon and Anthony Laffor, who both created goal scoring chances against Kampala, will remember to chalk their shooting boots this time.

Hunt is likely to start right wing Daine Klate. The flying winger came on in the second half against Kampala and made a big difference.

The Birds, after a slump, bounced back with a 3-1 home win over struggling Thanda Royal Zulu on Sunday.

Said Hunt: "Swallows have a quality side. I knew they would have to turn the corner sooner or later. They are never easy to beat so we know we will have to roll up our sleeves and fight hard if we want the three points."

The three players who stood out against TRZ were goal scorers Sandile Ndlovu, who netting twice, teenager Thulani "Shaka" Ngcepe who netted the first goal in the opening half and their hard working captain and midfield workhorse Lefa Tsutsulupa.

Birds' two Brazilian central defenders, Vinicius da Silva and Davi Rancan, were solid and gave nothing away against TRZ.

It was Hunt who signed the promising 19-year-old South African under-17 and SA under-20 striker Ngcepe when he coached Birds two years ago.

"I saw Ngcepe's potential and signed him when I was still coaching Swallows. I was surprised that this was, I believe, his first game this season. He is good enough to hold down a regular place and I envisage a bright future for him."

Pirates travel to the Woodburn Stadium where they play Maritzburg United. Gordon Igesund's team have climbed out of the danger zone and will be able to play a much more relaxed game against Bucs who cannot afford to drop any more points if they hope to overtake SuperSport. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Chiefs play bottom club Bay United at the ERPU Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night (7.30pm). For Bay, this is do or die. With only 20 points - five less than second from bottom Celtic - and only five fixtures remaining, a defeat against Amakhosi would virtually condemn Bay back to the First Division.