Absa Premiership: Gameweek 1 Preview

Absa Premiership: Gameweek 1 Preview

Football fans who’ve been starved of competitive football are eagerly awaiting the start of the Absa Premiership season this weekend and there isn’t a better way to kick off a campaign than witnessing a scrumptious match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs. Also, on the menu is the KZN derby between Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows. Elsewhere, newly-promoted Highlands Park visit the mighty Orlando Pirates. So, how are these matches going to pan out? Here are our betting tips:

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Saturday 4 August

Mamelodi Sundowns 13/10  
Draw 26/10 
Kaizer Chiefs 17/10 
(15:00)

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Bidvest Wits 13/10  
Draw 26/10 
Free State Stars 17/10 
(18:00)

Wits had a shambolic 2017/18 season, finishing 13th after a title-winning campaign, prompting coach Gavin Hunt to make bold decisions. He has released Daine Klate, Nazeer Allie and Moeneeb Josephs. The Clever Boys have acquired the services of 34-year-old Vuyo Mere from relegated Platinum Stars. Other new signings that are expected to make meaningful contribution are Brighton Mhlongo, Bantu Mzwakali and Mxolisi Macuphu. Luc Eymael’s Free State Stars finished last season on a high, winning the Nedbank Cup. It shall be interesting to see how they manage their small squad as they will also be competing in the CAF Confederations Cup and they will also have next week’s MTN8 clash against Kaizer Chiefs in mind. I think Stars will manage a narrow victory here.

Black Leopards 5/4  
Draw 26/10 
Polokwane City 7/4 
(18:00)

This is a teasingly, tantalising Limpopo derby between two great sides. Black Leopards won the Absa Premiership promotional play-offs convincingly, getting the better of Jomo Cosmos and Platinum Stars. Supporters at Thohoyandou must feel hard done by after the match was moved to Peter Mokaba Stadium due to their venue not being up to Premier Soccer League standards. From a Polokwane City perspective, it’s time for the new coach Jozef Vukusic to show what he is made of. The Slovakian joined Rise And Shine from FC Cape Town in the current transfer window. I can’t separate these two sides hence why I’m backing Both Teams to Score.

Cape Town City 21/20  
Draw 26/10 
SuperSport United 21/10 
(18:00)

Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City has lost the services of Lyle Lakay to Mamelodi Sundowns but they signed Riyaad Norodien from Orlando Pirates who is pretty much a similar player. Following the departure of captain Robyn Johannes and Tshepo Gumede, the Citizens signed 22-year old Ivorian defender, Kouassi Kouadja. The hosts won the inaugural Mpumalanga Xperience Cup, beating Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 on Saturday. On the other hand, Kaitano Tembo says his boys had a successful camp in Polokwane where they played friendlies against teams from lower divisions. New striker, James Keene, will also be looking to make his presence felt. I’m backing the hosts.

AmaZulu 5/4  
Draw 11/4 
Baroka 17/10 
(20:15)

AmaZulu prepared for the season by enjoying a triumphant KZN Premiers Cup which consisted of all NFD and PSL teams from the province. Coach Cavin Johnson rotated the players to give everybody a run before the season starts. Veteran goalkeeper, Moeneeb Josephs, has joined the club alongside left-back Marc Van Heerden who is making a return, among other signings. Baroka have a new technical team, led by Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda. AmaZulu are more likely to win this one at home.

Orlando Pirates 15/20  
Draw 28/10 
Highlands Park 31/20 
(20:15)

Orlando Pirates have had a quiet pre-season and played most of their friendlies behind closed doors. Their notable signings are Brilliant Khuzwayo, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Vincent Pule and Ben Motshwari. Last season’s runners up will be hoping to transfer their sexy “juego de posicion” into crucial results. Newly-promoted Highlands Park have signed Bevan Fransman from Maritzburg United to bolster their defence. My money is on the Mighty Buccaneers!

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Sunday 5 August

Bloemfontein Celtic 5/4  
Draw 26/10 
Chippa United 18/10 
(15:00)

Bloemfontein Celtic haven’t had a great pre-season with players staying away from training due to unpaid salaries. Owner, Max Tshabalala, even toyed with the idea of selling the club because he is battling to keep it afloat. It will be interesting to see how newly-appointed coach Steve Komphela copes with the situation. Dan “Dance” Malesela is making his return to coaching Chippa United and the club has signed some experienced players including Daine Klate, Jabulani Shongwe and Thabo Nthethe. I’m expecting Malesela’s dominance over Komphela to continue. Back the Chilli boys to triumph and compound Siwelele’s misery.

Maritzburg United 1/1 
Draw 11/4 
Golden Arrows 9/4 
(15:00)

Nazeer Allie has been brought in by Maritzburg United to fill the void left by the departure of captain Bevan Fransman. The team broke most of its records last season and they must be delighted that they managed to hold onto key players like Siphesihle Ndlovu, Lebohang Maboe and Fortune Makaringe. Arrows have signed their former player, Siyanda Zwane on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns and he brings the much-needed experience in defence. I think The Team of Choice will win this one.

TREBLE @ 56/10
AmaZulu Win 5/4
Orlando Pirates Win 15/20
Maritzburg Win 1/1

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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