The quest to the Absa Premiership begins tonight, with eyes fixed on the usual suspects.
As expected, the spotlight will fall mostly on the reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns (who host Maritzburg United at Loftus Stadium tonight), the runners-up Kaizer Chiefs and their Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates. Pressure is already mounting on the Brazilians after they shockingly crashed out to Platinum Stars in the MTN8 tourney last week.
But it’s nothing Pitso Mosimane can’t handle, having already had to fend off murmurs of discontent, arising from their poor start against Stars. “The league is a marathon and one has to really prepare well for such a test especially when you are the defending champions,” said Mosimane.
“We have done our stock take and reinforced where necessary, and we now have to integrate the new players so that they click as a unit. “First on our agenda is Maritzburg United who are a closed book at this stage because we have not seen them in any preseason tournaments. Unlike us, who are a bit in the dark about the opposition, they have already seen how we play.
“But that’s the nature of the game and we have to be well prepared for anything and adapt quickly.” Amakhosi have delved into the market, recruiting both from the development structures and the PSL. But they are yet to land their major target, Knowledge Musona, who is stuck with his German club Hoffenheim.
But Stuart Baxter’s men look razor-sharp, ready for the first test against Free State Stars, who they visit at Charles Mopeli Stadium tomorrow at 3pm. It was Stars who halted Chiefs’ rush to the title when they stole two precious goals at the crucial stage of the race.
The pain of surrendering the title to rivals Sundowns is still palpable for Amakhosi and nothing will soothe the heartache than the coveted league trophy. “Playing against Stars is always difficult, they are always difficult to crack,” said Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho.
Elsewhere, Vladimir Vermezovic will finally get to start a season with Orlando Pirates when he guides his men against Moroka Swallows at Orlando Stadium tomorrow at 8.15pm.
The Buccaneers finished their season strongly, bagging the Nedbank Cup, and are favourites to clinch the title. In the other matches tomorrow, University of Pretoria will take on relegation-survivors Polokwane City.
Returnees Chippa United host Platinum Stars at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium while SuperSport United will be hosts to Bidvest Wits at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
On Sunday, Ajax Cape Town will travel to Moses Mabhida Stadium to face AmaZulu while Bloemfontein Celtic will host Black Aces at Free State Stadium.
Article source: http://www.thenewage.co.za/134298-15-53-Top_guns_ready_to_rumble