PSL returnees Highlands take on Pirates in Soweto

PSL returnees Highlands take on Pirates in Soweto
Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates turns away from Robyn Johannes of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on 28 April 2018 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 03, 2018. 10:30

Highlands Park’s return to the Absa Premiership will begin with an away clash against Orlando Pirates at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday, 4 August 2018, kick-off at 20h15.

Pirates saw a resurgence of their form last season, as they finished second on the Absa Premiership log with a haul of 55 points from their 30 matches. Manager Milutin Sredojevoic will be looking to take his team to an even higher level in this campaign and truly challenge for honours.

The Buccaneers’ home form saw them claim 32 points from 15 matches, with nine wins, five draws and one defeat as hosts through the 2017/18 season.

Pirates had a busy transfer market, bringing in the likes of Abel Mabaso, Linda Mntambo, Kudakwashe Mahachi and Ben Motshwari, while players such as Thabo Matlaba, Ayanda Gcaba, Brighton Mhlongo and Thamsanqa Sangweni have left the club.

Highlands earned promotion back to the top flight of South African football by finishing top of the National First Division log with a haul of 69 points from their 30 matches. Manager Owen Da Gama will be aiming to establish the Makhulong-based side in the PSL, something they failed to do in 2016/17 when the campaign ended in relegation.

The Lions of the North’s away form saw them claim 35 points from 15 matches, with 11 wins, two draws and two defeats as visitors through the 2017/18 NFD season.

Highlands’ work in the transfer market has included the signing of experienced defender Bevan Fransman, while the likes of Pentjie Zulu, Vukile Mngqibisa and Ayo Oluwafemi have departed.

In head-to-head stats, Highlands and Pirates have met in just two previous league matches. Both encounters took place in the 2016/17 season, with the teams drawing 2-2 in Soweto and 0-0 in Makhulong.

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