Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic will have the honours of kicking off the 2016 top flight action, with a busy weekend of Absa Premiership action scheduled to follow.
Both Ajax and Celtic will be hoping to end a poor run of form when they meet at the Cape Town Stadium, the Urban Warriors and Phunya Sele Sele without a win in their last seven matches in all competitions.
“If we look at the log, it doesn’t look too good. But once we catch up those games we’ll see where we’re at, and I think we’ll be in a good position where we can challenge for a top eight spot once again,” Ajax coach Roger de Sa, whose side last won a match in September, said.
“You don’t become a bad side overnight. We still playing the same players, and it’s now time to get it right.”
There are five Absa Premiership fixtures scheduled for Saturday. The match between the University of Pretoria and Jomo Cosmos in Tshwane will be a crucial one for both teams, who are respectively second and third from bottom on the standings.
Another highlight of the day should be at the FNB Stadium, where Kaizer Chiefs will be out to exact revenge on Mamelodi Sundowns, following the Brazilians’ 3-1 victory over Amakhosi in the Telkom Knockout final last month.
“This is going to be the first game of the new year,” Chiefs boss Steve Komphela stated. “It’s a match that can affect the league championship.
“Our team has shown that they are great in comebacks. We did the same when we lost to Orlando Pirates, before beating them a week later in the Telkom Knockout semi-final. Any comeback is always a sign of a team’s character.”
Should log leaders Sundowns slip up in any way against Chiefs, Bidvest Wits, second behind Downs on goal difference, will be looking to capitalise when they meet Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It is one of two matches on the day with the second taking place in Polokwane where a resurgent SuperSport United are up against bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg United.
The Team of Choice have a new coach in place, the German Ernst Middendorp, and he is looking forward to his third spell in charge of the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.
“I believe that the quality of the team, the PSL quality, and the number of players in this squad should give us the base or foundation to make it happen, to pick up the necessary points to stay in the league,” the new man said.
The full weekend’s action is as follows:
Friday, January 08, 2016
20h00 – Ajax Cape Town v Bloem Celtic – Cape Town Stadium
Saturday, January 09, 2016
15h30 – University of Pretoria v Jomo Cosmos – Tuks Stadium
15h30 – Orlando Pirates v Platinum Stars – Orlando Stadium
15h30 – Free State Stars v Golden Arrows – Goble Park
20h15 – Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns – FNB Stadium
20h15 – Black Aces v Polokwane City – Mbombela Stadium
Sunday, January 10, 2016
15h30 – SuperSport United v Maritzburg Utd – Peter Mokaba Stadium
15h30 – Chippa United v Bidvest Wits – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium