Last term’s top two open new DStv Premiership season

Last term’s top two open new DStv Premiership season
Mosa Lebusa of Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Sphelele Mthembu of AmaZulu

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 20, 2021. 10:00

The new 2021-22 DStv Premiership season kicks off this weekend, with last term’s top two – champions Mamelodi Sundowns and runners-up AmaZulu – getting the campaign underway on Friday evening.

‘Downs will be chasing a fifth successive title and have already made something of a statement by knocking fellow heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs out of the MTN8 last weekend, but an ambitious AmaZulu side will be fired up to lay down a marker of their own at Loftus Versfeld.

“[Sundowns] didn’t lose that much of their championship team, they have only added more quality players so we know the task at hand is going to be very tough, but we don’t shy away from that,” said Usuthu boss Benni McCarthy.

“We are just preparing ourselves in the best way we possibly can and hoping that the players will be up for the fight, and we know the difficulties [we can expect] – not having the ball, playing away from home – so we’re going to have to work extremely hard, but that’s football.”

Much of the rest of the first round will see a focus on a trio of new clubs. First up on Saturday afternoon will be Sekhukhune United, who won last season’s GladAfrica Championship (second tier league) and will be looking to open with a win against Chippa United in Tembisa.

Later the same day, Marumo Gallants (known as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila last season) will have a Limpopo derby away to Baroka FC, and Sunday sees Royal AM (who recently completed a takeover of Bloemfontein Celtic) face a tough test against Swallows FC in Soweto.

The traditional Soweto giants of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs enter the season with very different moods. Both exited the MTN8 last weekend, but while there is a sense of optimism and improvement for Stuart Baxter’s Amakhosi ahead of their opener against TS Galaxy on Sunday, the Buccaneers were rocked by the departure of coach Josef Zinnbauer earlier this week.

The good news is they have a ready-made replacement already in house, with former Golden Arrows coach Mandla Ncikazi set to take charge for their Saturday game at home to Stellenbosch.

Arrows themselves will have a provincial derby against KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United, while Cape Town City will welcome SuperSport United in a match which sees manager Eric Tinkler come up against one of his former teams.

“The one thing I wanted to introduce here at Cape Town City [is] that it’s not always about playing pretty football, sometimes you have to play ugly football to get the result,” Tinkler said after his team knocked AmaZulu out of the MTN8 last weekend.

DStv Premiership fixtures, 20-22 August

Times CAT

Friday 20 August

17:00: Mamelodi Sundowns v AmaZulu

Saturday 21 August

15:00: Golden Arrows v Maritzburg United

15:00: Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC

15:00: Sekhukhune United v Chippa United

17:00: Baroka FC v Marumo Gallants

17:00: Cape Town City v SuperSport United

Sunday 22 August

15:00: Swallows FC v Royal AM

17:00: TS Galaxy v Kaizer Chiefs

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