With the new Absa Premiership season now just days away, the PSL officially looks at the fixtures for day one.
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.
Bidvest Wits v Kaizer Chiefs – Bidvest Stadium
A match-up between two pretenders for the title is the highlight of round one as the Students, last season’s runners-up, entertain Amakhosi. Steve Komphela’s men were underwhelming performers last season and have made wholesale changes to their squad over the winter.
Over 15 new players have been shipped out, amongst them the likes of Siboniso Gaxa and Bongani Ndulula, and replaced them with others like Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Ryan Moon. After the disappointment of a trophyless past campaign, Komphela will be hoping for much better in 2016/17.
The Students too continue to search for that elusive piece of silverware. They may have lost 2013/14 Player of the Season in Sibusiso Vilakazi to champions Mamelodi Sundowns, but they have recruited smartly with the likes of Thabang Monare and Cuthbert Malajila.
Cape Town City FC v Polokwane City – Cape Town Stadium
A first glimpse at the new franchise will come when they host Rise and Shine in the Mother City. Cape Town, formerly Mpumalanga Black Aces, have relocated and kept a fair number of AmaZayoni players. But they have a new coach in Eric Tinkler and will be keen to hit the ground running, and also build on an impressive fourth-place finish last year.
Polokwane too have a new ma at the helm in Belgian coach Luc Eymael. After narrowly escaping relegation last season, they will be desperate for a better return.
Baroka FC v Ajax Cape Town – New Peter Mokaba Stadium
The National First Division champions make their Absa Premiership bow in front of their own fans, who will be confident that their big-talking coach Kgokolo Thobejane can walk the talk.
The Urban Warriors may have won the MTN8 last season, but they disappointed in the league where they ended in 10th – an extremely poor return for a club with high standards as Ajax. They have also lost senior players like Anssi Jaakkola and Abbubaker Mobara, how they cope without them will be watched keenly.
Chippa United v Free State Stars – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Under the guidance of Dan Malesela, the Chilli Boys look like a force to be reckoned with. Highly impressive in ending sixth last year, they have done some smart winter business too, bolstering their squad with players like Marc van Heerden and Menzi Masuku.
They will face an Ea Lla Koto team that had a disrupted pre-season due to the attempted purchase of the club. Stars have lost integral parts of their team in Ayanda Nkosi, Sello Japhta and Lucky Mohomi. They also have a new coach in Denis Lavagne. How they settle under the Frenchman will be vital if they want to improve on ending 12th last year.