With the new Absa Premiership season now just days away, the PSL looks at the fixtures for day two.
After just on three months since the conclusion of the 2015/16 campaign, the new South African domestic football term kicks off on Tuesday, August 23.
There are four matches to be played on the opening day, all starting at 19h30, with a further three on Wednesday, August 24.
Orlando Pirates v Lamontville Golden Arrows – Orlando Stadium
The Buccaneers will head into the new calendar determined to end a four-year title drought. The last time they won the league it was under Augusto Palacios. Vladimir Vermezovic and Eric Tinkler have since come and gone, without much success.
Now Muhsin Ertugral ushers in a new era as a new-look Pirates eye an improvement on a trophyless last season when they ended seventh in the league. They have bought the players too to help them, with high-profiles like Abbubaker Mobara and Thabiso Kutumela now on their payroll.
After and impressive return to the big-time last season, Abafana Bes’thende will be seeking further improvement on their ninth position. They have recruited smartly too by adding Lerato Lamola and Limbikani Mzava, to name a few, to their squad and will be looking for another good season.
Platinum Stars v SuperSport United – Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Dikwena managed an impressive third last season, but the questions will be out as to whether they can match that feat again this year? Cavin Johnson is a master at nurturing talent and their transfer activity shows that the coach has again put faith in youth.
Matsatsantsa, meanwhile, have been fairly quiet in the off-season with coach Stuart Baxter enjoying his first pre-season with them. Some shrewd early winter recruits like Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Reyaad Pieterse make them much stronger this season and they cannot be counted out amongst the contenders.
Bloemfontein Celtic v Maritzburg United – Dr. Molemela Stadium
Siwelele experienced their worst season in nearly eight years last year when they ended in 11th. Like so many other clubs that were under-par last year, they too will be looking to make amends. Coach Serame Letsoaka has lost a chunk of his key players – Keagan Buchanan and Thapelo Morena amongst them. How they cope without them, will be key.
After their narrow escape of last season, Maritzburg have played smart in the off-season. They had the worst defence in the league last year and their focus has been on improving that specific are with names like Bevan Fransman and Bryce Moon bolstering their ranks.
Coach Ernst Middendorp also has an exciting strike prospect in Andrea Filleccia and it will be interesting to see how they hit the ground. The men behind the club have spoken about lessons learnt from last season’s early struggles, so they will need to put that into practice.