Thursday, 11 July 2013

Cavin Johnson's first task as SuperSport United coach: MANCHESTER CITY live and dangerous at Loftus on Sunday!

CAVIN JOHNSON faces possibly the most frightening introduction possible to his new job as SuperSport United boss on Sunday – when he faces a club by the name of Manchester City.

The most expensively assembled team in the history of English football flew in to Durban’s King Shaka airport today before their Nelson Mandela Invitational opener against Matsatsantsa at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.

And yes, Jesus is coming – Jesus Navas. Sheikh Mansour’s most recent acquisition from Spain's Sevilla is included in the City squad under the management of new Italian coach Manuel Pellegrini, who replaced Roberto Mancini despite their runners-up finish in the Barclays Premier League last season.

Speaking on my show BOLLOCKZ on, an excited Johnson – who moved to SuperSport last month after taking Platinum Stars to a surprising runners-up spot in the PSL last season – told me: “Neal, in all respects, yes, City players are among the highest-paid players in the world but for us at SuperSport it’s an honour to play them for Nelson Mandela.

“But on the other hand, in England, City are one of the top four teams. In South Africa, SuperSport United are one of the top four teams!

“Two different brands of football are coming together – hopefully on the day we’ll have the advantage. City have had to fly 11 hours to get to our country!

Johnson, who replaces three-time PSL champion Gavin Hunt at the helm, revealed: “Thuso Phala, the man I brought with me from Platinum Stars, is injured unfortunately, but you will see former AmaTuks Senegal strike Mame Niang.

“David Mathebula and Bennett Chenene from Moroka Swallows will definitely play. We have a new youngster called Morne Nel – he’s only 17. I might give him ten minutes against Manchester City! He’s a midfielder. Who knows, what a dream that would be for him! Dino Moketse is another youngster – but he played a few games last season.
OUT IN AFRICA: England captain Joe Hart and City's
Belgian captain Vincent Kompany on the
road from King Shaka airport yesterday

“We have agreed to allow eight or nine substitutions so we will be able to give a lot of players a run.”

Among his more established stars are Sameehg Doutie, rumoured to be wanted in Europe, South Africa’s fastest defender Bevan Fransmann – who will fly off to join Bafana Bafana’s COSAFA Cup campaign in Zambia after the game – and Mor Diouf, who memorably scored from 70 yards in the Tshwane derby against Mamelodi Sundowns last season.

Diouf told me after that goal he loves the long range efforts though England goalkeeper Joe Hart may be harder to beat from the halfway line than Wayne Sandilands!

“The question is, can my players get a hold on players like David Silva or their new Brazilian Fernandinho? That will bring a little bit of spark into our lives at Loftus on Sunday!

“For me it’s about giving the crowd a good display of football – and hopefully we’ll be able to score six or seven!"

England's 2012 champions City, like neighbours United and Chelsea, start the season under new management too.

Their new Italian boss Manuel Pellegrini arrived in Durban today insisting: "I am here to work with young players and the professional team. Winning trophies is important but it is not just about that." 

Johnson grins: “At the present moment, considering what Manchester City have done in the Premier League, it couldn’t be a better start for me at SuperSport.

“We’ve had Engen join us as sponsors and we have exciting development programmes in place.

“I don’t actually support any club in England, as a coach I need to see all the other teams and what they do!

“I’m enjoying this job to the fullest right now. It’s one of the big teams in South Africa, we have a lot of personalities and I’ll see you on Sunday at Loftus!”

You can follow me on - or you can meet me at Eastwoods, the Loftus bar, at high noon before Sunday’s game with SuperSport United fanatic Trevor van Wyk and other twitter buddies!

EXCLUSIVE: How I revealed Cavin Johnson's move to SuperSport United in May:


July 14 Supersport United (South Africa)

July 18 AmaZulu FC (South Africa)

July 24 South China (Hong Kong)

July 27 Tottenham/Sunderland (Hong Kong)

July 31 AC Milan (Germany)

August 1 Bayern Munich/Sao Paulo (Germany)

August 10 Arsenal (Finland)

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