Friday Oct 23, 2020. 09:00
South Africa’s opening weekend of 2020-21 DStv Premiership action will be headlined by a clash of last season’s top two, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.
The pair scrapped for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title right up to the final minutes of the 2019-20 campaign, but ultimately ‘Downs came out on top and claimed a third successive championship.
However, things have not gone smoothly for the Brazilians since then. They lost their long-time manager Pitso Mosimane to Al Ahly and the new era under a triumvirate of coaches (Rhulani Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela) started disastrously last weekend when they were eliminated from the MTN8 by Bloemfontein Celtic.
“I think [against Celtic] there were a lot of positives. I believe we’re beginning to play the way I want the team to play,” explained Mngqithi. “The coaches have worked very hard in trying to make sure that we have the right balance and the shape in midfield and to be honest we looked very good but when we got punished… what can you say? You can’t say you played well when you didn’t win the match.”
By contrast, new manager Gavin Hunt’s tenure at Chiefs got off to a winning start. The Amakhosi were not entirely convincing in defeating Maritzburg United 2-1 in the MTN8 last weekend, but a come-from-behind triumph shows signs of the grit and determination they will need to put last season’s disappointment behind them.
The pair will meet at 15:00 CAT at Soccer City in Soweto on Saturday afternoon, with the clash likely to set the tone for the remainder of the campaign.
Elsewhere on Saturday, SuperSport United (one of the title dark horses thanks to their stability and consistency) will look to get off to a fast start when they host Black Leopards, while heavyweights Orlando Pirates will chase a win away in Durban over AmaZulu.
Sunday features Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and TS Galaxy – two teams who bought their way into the top flight, at the expense of Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park respectively – making their Premiership debuts with a meeting at Thohoyandou Stadium, while traditional favourites Swallows FC (formerly Moroka Swallows) mark their return to the top table of South African football with a match in the Western Cape against Stellenbosch.
DStv Premiership fixtures, 24-25 October 2020
Saturday 24 October
15:30: Bloemfontein Celtic v Golden Arrows
15:30: Baroka FC v Maritzburg United
15:30: Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns
18:00: Cape Town City v Chippa United
20:15: SuperSport United v Black Leopards
20:15: AmaZulu v Orlando Pirates
Sunday 25 October
15:30: Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila v TS Galaxy
15:30: Stellenbosch FC v Swallows FC