Jabulani Ncobeni of Thanda Royal Zulu FC chases Siyabonga Nomvethe, Captain of Amazulu FC during the NFD 2016/17 game between AmaZulu and Thanda Royal Zulu FC at Umhlathuze Central Sports Complex Stadium, Richardsbay on 19 February 2017 © Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Thursday Aug 17, 2017. 08:27
AmaZulu will mark their return to the Absa Premiership when they host Free State Stars at King Zwelithini Stadium on 19 August 2017, kick-off at 15h00.
AmaZulu finished in fifth place on last season’s National First Division log, missing out on the promotion playoffs by just two points. However, they successfully bought out the franchise of NFD league winners Thanda Royal Zulu to secure a place in the top flight for 2017/18.
Their rise back to the PSL has not been without casualties, as the club recently parted ways with Joey Antipas and installed former Platinum Stars and SuperSport United boss Cavin Johnson as their manager.
As for Stars, they very nearly suffered relegation to the NFD last season after finishing above the danger zone only on goal difference. As a result Ea Lla Koto axed coach Serame Letsoaka and replaced him with Sammy Troughton, who formerly worked at University of Pretoria and did a fine job at Stellenbosch FC last term.
In head-to-head terms, AmaZulu and Stars have clashed in 47 league matches since 1986. The Free State side has claimed 19 wins compared to 16 for the Durban club, while 12 matches have been drawn. Usuthu have a decent record at home to Ea Lla Koto, with 10 wins and six defeats from 23 matches as hosts.
The teams last clashed in the top flight in 2014/15, with AmaZulu taking four points off Stars. The first match in the Free State ended goalless, before Usuthu won the return game in Durban 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mbulelo Mabizela.