Mamelodi Sundowns will open the new season against Amazulu but that is just one of the mouthwatering matchups in store this weekend.
On the weekend, Sundowns needed penalties to move into the last four of the MTN8 at the expense of Kaizer Chiefs. What will give their opponents hope is how the Brazilians failed to close out the contest despite going 2-0 up early. Now they face the team that finished a distant second last term as they go about their business of defending their domestic crown yet again.
Kgaogelo Sekgota, Cole Alexander, Phathutshedzo Nange and Sifiso Hlanti were all handed Sundowns debuts as the persistent squad merry go round continues. A number of exits are still being lined up which could see some teams in the bottom half significantly improved.
Transfer business aside, it’s time for talking on the pitch as Benni McCarthy’s side were unable to use their favourites tag against Cape Town City. Usuthu crashed out of the MTN8 after a 2-1 defeat and will need to be at their best if they are to leave the nation’s capital with a point or more.
Last season, Sundowns were boosted by a Themba Zwane hat-trick en route to a thrilling 4-3 victory.
Cape Town City will be hoping to continue their good start under Eric Tinkler but will face serious competition in the form of SuperSport United.
Both sides are looking to cement their status as the biggest title threat to Sundowns and City will be hoping to repeat last season’s 3-0 win over Matsatsantsa when they meet on Saturday at 5pm.
Earlier on Saturday, Orlando Pirates will begin life without Josef Zinnbauer with a home tie against Stellenbosch FC.
The German coach has left the club following his side’s cup defeat to Swallows. His record was mixed with 35 wins, 20 draws and 13 losses in his 68 matches in charge of the Buccaneers.
Fans of the Orlando club will watch on nervously as their plans for a big season were dealt a hiccup just days before their first league game.
Pirates remain with a squad stronger than most in the league but their stop-start form over the past year continues to weigh them down heavily.
One of the biggest games of the weekend pits Kaizer Chiefs, under Stuart Baxter, up against TS Galaxy.
Last season, Chiefs pipped Galaxy to the top 8 on the final gameweek, so one can expect plenty of needle in the opening half.
Amakhosi are 2.39 to win this game which does represent good value.
A cup loss is never easy to accept especially after their dramatic shootout against Sundowns but the positives will be noted. It will have pleased Baxter to see Khama Billiat’s name back on the scoresheet as well as see his side fight their way back into the game after conceding two early goals.
Baxter was taking the positives from the MTN8 and after avoiding some of the bigger hitters, he will be looking for a win to start his latest spell as the coach of the Glamour Boys.