Sundowns have a target on their backs as new season kicks off

Sundowns have a target on their backs as new season kicks off
DSTV Premiership Trophy

by Staff Reporter

Friday Aug 04, 2023. 11:00

The new DStv Premiership season kicks off this weekend as the likes of Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United plot ways to dethrone Mamelodi Sundowns.

The defending champions get the ball rolling on Friday evening when they travel to the Peter Mokaba Stadium to take on Sekhukhune United.

Sundowns cruised to a sixth consecutive title last term as they set all sorts of new records and Rulani Mokwena’s side will be looking to extend a 24-game unbeaten run in the league stretching back to 2 September 2022.

Babina Noko have yet to get the better of the Brazilians, but took two points off them in a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season before losing 2-0 in Pretoria.

Meanwhile, Orlando Pirates will look to put their title rivals under early pressure when they face Stellenbosch at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Buccaneers pipped SuperSport United to the runners-up spot in a nail-biting climax to previous campaign, while they won two trophies in Jose Riveiro’s first season at the club, bearing AmaZulu and Sekhukhune United in the MTN 8 and Nedbank Cup finals respectively.

The Maroons recovered from a poor run of form in the first half of the campaign to finish sixth and they’ll be targeting only their second-ever win against Pirates, who ran out convincing 4-1 victors on home soil after being held to a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last term.

Earlier in the day, SuperSport United will kick off their title challenge against Richards Bay at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Matsatsantsa looked odds-on favourites to qualify for the CAF Champions League last time around, but they dropped crucial points in the run-in to finish three points behind Bucs in third position.

The Natal Rich Boyz were the closest challengers to Sundowns in the opening months of 2022-23 before they fell off sharply in the new year to end up just three points above the relegation zone in 13th spot.

Then on Sunday, Kaizer Chiefs begin the Molefi Ntseki era at home to Chippa United, with the match taking place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Amakhosi blew hot and cold under Arthur Zwane last season and limped to a fifth-placed finish after losing four of their last five games, while the Chilli Boys avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign following a 0-0 draw with Golden Arrows as goal difference came into play.

Elsewhere, Moroka Swallows start life under Steve Komphela with a trip to Golden Arrows on Saturday afternoon and Royal AM welcome AmaZulu to the Harry Gwala Stadium in the first KZN derby of the season later that same day.

Sunday sees the two top-flight newcomers in action as Cape Town Spurs make the long journey to the Mbombela Stadium to face TS Galaxy, while Polokwane City lock horns with Cape Town City at Athlone Stadium.

DStv Premiership matchday 1 fixtures:

Friday, August 4

19h30: Sekhukhune United v Mamelodi Sundowns

Saturday, August 5

15h00: Golden Arrows v Moroka Swallows

15h00: SuperSport United v Richards Bay

17h30: Royal AM v AmaZulu

20h00: Stellenbosch v Orlando Pirates

Sunday, August 6

15h00: Kaizer Chiefs v Chippa United

15h00: TS Galaxy v Cape Town Spurs

17h30: Cape Town City v Polokwane City

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