Wits open 2018/19 season at home to Stars

Wits open 2018/19 season at home to Stars
Lehohonolo Majoro of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City 22 April 2018 at Bidvest Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 03, 2018. 12:00

Bidvest Wits will open their new Absa Premiership campaign with a clash at home to Free State Stars at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday, 4 August 2018, kick-off at 18h00.

Wits, who were the defending champions at the start of last season, endured a difficult campaign which saw them pick up just 36 points from their 30 matches to finish in 13th place. Manager Gavin Hunt will hope to lead team back to the upper reaches of the log – at the very least.

The Clever Boys’ home form saw them claim 19 points from 15 matches, as they recorded five wins, four draws and six defeats as hosts through the 2017/18 season.

Wits’ work in the transfer market has included the signings of Deon Hotto, Robyn Johannes, Gift Motupa and Brighton Mhlongo, while they have lost players such as James Keene, Moeneeb Josephs, Daine Klate and Vincent Pule.

Stars enjoyed a fine 2017/18 season which saw them finish sixth on the Absa Premiership log, with a haul of 40 points from 30 matches. Manager Luc Eymael has remained with the club and will be under pressure to build on the foundations laid last term.

Ea Lla Koto’s away form saw them claim 16 points from 15 matches, as they recorded four wins, four draws and seven defeats as visitors through the 2017/18 season.

Stars’ work in the transfer market has included the signings of Cesaire Gandze, Ricardo Ndiki and Eleazar Rodgers, while the likes of Thamsanqa Teyise, Siphelele Mthembu, Katlego Mashego and Nhlanhla Vilakazi have left the club.

In head-to-head stats, Wits and Stars have met in 55 league matches since 1986. The Clever Boys have claimed 18 wins compared to 16 for Ea Lla Koto, while 21 matches have been drawn. The Johannesburg side has claimed 13 wins from 27 home league matches in the rivalry, suffering four defeats in the process.

Last season Stars took four points off Wits in their two league meetings, with a 2-2 draw in Bethlehem followed by a 1-0 win in the return game in Johannesburg, which was played in January 2018. The Clever Boys have managed just one win in their last seven league games against the Free Staters.

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