Royal AM will be relishing the chance to kickstart the new DStv Premiership campaign with a positive result when they welcome Kaizer Chiefs to the Chatsworth Stadium on Saturday.
Royal AM have been one of the busier teams during the transfer window and have drastically strengthened their squad with eight new signings, including Samir Nurkovic, Andre de Jong, Ruzaigh Gamildien, Shane Roberts, Khetukuthula Ndlovu, Philani Cele, Lesvin Stoffels and Xolani Ngcobo.
But with the new additions in the squad comes departures and the most notable departure was top scorer Victor Lesoalo, who joined Sekhukhune United, and he is just on the list of departures by three other players including Tshidiso Monamodi, Given Mashikinya and Sipho Chaine.
Kaizer Chiefs have also made wholesale changes to their squad for the season ahead after capturing nine new players, which include Siyethemba Sithebe, Zitha Kwinika, Ashley Du Preez, Yusuf Maart, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Lehlogonolo Matlou, Dillan Solomons, Aden McCarthy and Mduduzi Shabalala.
While the have been a number of incoming players, Amakhosi had a list of 14 players who were released from the club, including Bernard Parker, Lebogang Manyama, Daniel Cardoso, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Samir Nurkovic.
Thwihli Thwahla were one of the more impressive teams last season as they managed to secure a third place finish in the league only behind Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns, while Amakhosi finished two places below them in fifth place level on 47 points.
Chiefs mentor Arthur Zwane says: “Kaizer Chiefs have long had their own style of playing. As times went by and different coaches came it was somewhat lost. But that is what we are now trying to bring back.
“There are players like Mfundo (Vilakazi), and not just him, we do not restrict them from expressing themselves. I will say this again, showboating will not help us in any way.
“Our reserve team won the (DStv) Diski Shield just recently. And Mfundo is one of the players who scored. If you look at the goal he scored, it was beautiful.
“But if he had taken the ball and did the tricks first, we would not have scored that goal. It shows that he has the ability to score goals at his young age. He can also take players on.
“He is a special player so now we are working on him because we want to groom him properly and not rush him. We have heard people saying he is so good he could play in the first team. But there is a long road for him.
“He and others are on a special programme that is ensuring that when the time comes, the transition into the first team will be smoother for them.”
When Royal AM and Kaizer Chiefs squared off in the DStv Premiership two-legged fixture last campaign, Thwihli Thwahla came out on top by doing the double over Amakhosi by first cruising to a comfortable 4-1 win at the FNB Stadium before edging out Chiefs 1-0 at the Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium in the return leg.
Both Dan Malesela and Arthur Zwane will be boosted by the fact that their are no injuries or suspensions to report in both camps ahead of their fixture at the Chatsworth Stadium.
Ruzaigh Gamildien has already somewhat repaid the club since joining Royal from Swallows FC after he scored the winning goal to hand Thwihli Thwahla the KZN Premier Cup trophy over the weekend.
Chiefs newcomer Ashley Du Preez will be looking to continue his form from last season which saw him find the back of the net nine times for Stelllenbosch as he starts his new journey with the Soweto giants.
Royal AM Form:
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