Onismor Bhasera acknowledges the difficulty of the demands placed on him and his SuperSport United teammates as professional footballers and says it is what they signed up for.
Matsatsantsa a Pirtori host Mameldoi Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening in a DStv Premiership clash, just days after returning from an unsuccessful CAF Confederation Cup trip to Egypt where they lost 1-0 to Future FC.
“They are difficult times, but we are gonna have to go through it. It is what it is,” said Bhasera.
“We know what we signed up for to be on top. Sundowns have been doing it (playing continental and local football) for the past four or five years, so we are going to have to do it.
“Our tour squad is a bit thin, while Sundowns have about 40 quality players. But it is not an excuse, at the end of the day we are going to have to put the best XI on the pitch and they know the importance of the game.
“We have to win and if we do maybe we are sitting on top of the league for a couple of nights, it is a good motivation on its own. We are looking forward to it, and I think every player wants to play.”
‘These things never cross your mind’
The Zimbabwean left back is not putting too much focus on the fact that SuperSport have been unbeatable at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
“Of course, it has been our good hunting place, but these things never cross your mind when you get on to the field. It is about what you do on the day.
“Sundowns are there, we are there and we’ve got to match them. If we do, the results will be different.
“We know their quality and all their players, matching them we have to win our individual battles, the 1v1 as a team and as groups we have to be spot on. If we match them in all those departments we will go away with something.”
Bhasera expects an encounter with plenty of needle, as derbies should be, but more so with this one given that there are a few former SuperSport players – Ronwen Williams, Teboho Mokoena, Terrrence Mashego, Sipho Mbule – who are now playing for Sundowns.
“It’s going to be be a good match. We want to show those on the other side that we are still good and they will want to show us they are better.”
He attributed the club’s ability to remain competitive despite losing so many key players to the fact that they remain true to who they are.
“Our structure has always been there. At SuperSport we are a hardworking team.
“If you don’t work hard, you won’t be able to play for SuperSport. That’s what brings us results, the consistency.
“We have a coach who has been around and is experienced. If you want to have the pleasure to work with him be prepared to work hard, nothing more.”
A seasoned campaigner and one of the club’s senior players, Bhasera was full of praises for coach Gavin Hunt’s handling of the younger players in the squad.
“Gavin has a winning mentality and believes in hard work. He interacts very well with the players, especially the young lads.
“Gavin knows how to deal with them when they are sulking. You know how kids are, and he knows how to approach them and put his arm around them. He is like a father and that’s why it is working well with our chickens – the young ones.
“We (the senior players) try to teach them that hard work always takes you places. They say ‘the sky is the limit’ but you can go above that,” Bhasera explained, the last bit coming across as a dig at their adversaries’ slogan.