Sun­downs vs Pi­rates pure fire­works

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - MARC STRYDOM

Mamelodi Sun­downs ver­sus Or­lando Pi­rates is the most ea­gerly-awaited fix­ture on the Absa Premiership cal­en­dar sim­ply be­cause it reg­u­larly – as in‚ al­most every sin­gle time – pro­duces fire­works in the best tra­di­tions of skil­ful South African foot­ball.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Sun­downs and Pi­rates meet for the first time this sea­son at Lof­tus Versveld on Sat­ur­day as among the early pace-set­ters in third and first place in the Absa Premiership.

They have be­gun in such fore­bod­ing form – nei­ther too quick out of the blocks‚ both with plenty of room for improve­ment – that they are most pun­dits’ early favourites for the race for the ti­tle.

The rea­sons for Sun­downs-Pi­rates al­ways be­ing such an ex­plo­sive af­fair (and yes‚ we can just about say “al­ways”‚ be­cause you’d have to go far back in your mem­ory to find one that wasn’t) are var­ied.

Partly it’s the star qual­ity on show.

Of the big three in South Africa‚ Downs and Bucs are the two who reg­u­larly plun­der smaller teams‚ and scour the con­ti­nent‚ for top-class ta­lent in every six-month trans­fer win­dow.

Kaizer Chiefs re­ally only go on big-name spend­ing sprees every three or four years.

Downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane is cur­rently re­build­ing his team from the losses over the past three years of the cream of his 2016 Caf Cham­pi­ons League-win­ning star power – Leonardo Cas­tro‚ Kea­gan Dolly‚ Khama Bil­liat and Percy Tau.

New ad­di­tions are tak­ing some time to gel‚ none more so than pro­lific striker Jeremy Brockie from Su­per­Sport United.

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