by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – RONWEN Williams insists Supersport United players are not losing sleep over their futures.
The assurance comes amid never-ending speculation the side’s topflight status is up for sale at the end of the season.
These reports have been among the most dominant stories in the 2020/21 DStv Premiership season as Supesport’s early title challenge to dethrone Pretoria neighbours, Mamelodi Sundowns, capitulated later after a flurry of injuries.
As the curtain comes down another coronavirus-impacted campaign, reports have resurfaced the end is on the horizon for the side from the capital city that has been in existence since 1994.
Reports have gone as far as suggesting the financial firm, Bidvest, has made a successful offer to acquire Supersport’s topflight franchise.
While this has been denied, the buying and selling of statuses has taken root locally, exacerbated by the pandemic-induced financial crunch.
The rumour mill has it that so-called talks are at an advanced stage, a year after Bidvest Wits’ status was sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM).
While this has coincided with Matsantsantsa a Pitori enduring their worst run in recent seasons, captain Williams said that players were not perturbed by the rumours.
“It hasn’t bothered us at all because our CEO came to address the rumours and he assured us the club won’t be sold,” the goalkeeper told CAJ News Africa in an exclusive interview.
Supersport United CEO, Stan Matthews, is hailed as one of the most astute executives in the 16-team DStv Premiership.
“The CEO has addressed us. It (rumoured sell) did not have any effect on the players,” Williams said.
Supesport have been unkind with injuries.
This has been the major drawback in the quest by coach Kaitano Tembo and his side’s prospects to reclaim the title they last won in 2009/10.
They ended a ten-match winless run with a 1-0 win over TTM on May 12 but later lost 1-3 in the match that confirmed Sundowns as champions for a record fourth successive time.
Williams lamented the injuries and loss of personnel during the off-season.
“We lost key players for long periods. This affected our performances because we don’t have a big squad. That’s when we had to give more minutes to our youngsters, something we strive on as a club,” he said.
“We started very well but lost many key players along the way through injuries. That had a big impact on our form but we battled back and I’m proud that many youngsters played lots of games and did very well.”
The goalkeeper himself has just returned to action after a spell on the sidelines due to injury.
“We are disappointed that we didn’t get any silverware but we (are) in a rebuilding phase as we lost (Dean) Furman, (Aubrey) Modiba, (Thabo) Mnyamane and (Clayton) Daniels. They were huge to our success as a club,” Williams said.
Supersport United were sixth at the time of writing and can finish as high as third and cannot end lower than eighth.
“We would love to better last season’s position which was fifth. Realistically, top five would be okay,” Williams said.
Despite an inconsistent campaign, this has been a historic season for Supersport, whose final game is away to relegation-fighting Chippa United on Saturday.
Leading marksman, Bradley Grobler, exceeded the now-late Abram Raselemane’s club record of 57 goals.
The three-time league winners reached a landmark 1 000 Premiership goals.
Williams at some point played 100 consecutive games, a league record.
– CAJ News