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DStv Premiership: Gameweek 1 Preview

Orlando Pirates travel to Durban to play AmaZulu this Saturday

League football returns in Mzansi as the first-ever DStv Premiership commences this weekend. Last season’s title challengers, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, headline the opening act as the two Gauteng heavyweights get the show underway on Saturday afternoon. Later that day, Orlando Pirates do battle with AmaZulu at Kings Park Stadium. Elsewhere, all eyes will be on the new boys in town as Tshakhuma host TS Galaxy, while Swallows FC mark their return with a trip to Stellenbosch. With a full set of fixtures to look forward to, let’s get straight down to business!

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Saturday 24 October

Kaizer Chiefs 14/10
Draw 22/10
Mamelodi Sundowns 18/10

Baroka FC 22/10
Draw 21/10
Maritzburg United 12/10

After a late twist in the MTN8 quarter-finals, Maritzburg United surrendered their spot in the next round after conceding twice in three minutes to afford Kaizer Chiefs the lead. In that tie, the Team of Choice did look very impressive and outplayed Chiefs, particularly in the first half. Thabiso Kutumela and Judas Moseamedi caused plenty of menace in attack, while Jose Ali Meza could make his debut for the KZN-based side. After another season fighting for relegation, Baroka FC kick-start the new season with plenty of problems, most notably surrounding head coach, Dylan Kerr, who is still suspended by the club which could likely rule him out of their opener. My money is on Eric Tinkler’s side here.

Bloemfontein Celtic 11/10
Draw 21/10
Golden Arrows 5/2

Bloemfontein Celtic will get their campaign underway on a high, following their impressive end to last season, while they also managed to knock Mamelodi Sundowns out of the MTN8 last weekend. That result over Sundowns further highlighted the club’s superb work since John Maduka’s appointment. Siwelele could also be back to full strength with Lantshene Phalane and Ndumiso Mabena likely to return. It remains to be seen what we can expect from Golden Arrows just yet, and with Steve Komphela departing to Mamelodi Sundowns, Mandla Ncikazi has been given the task of keeping Abafana Bes'thende afloat. Arrows haven’t made any stand-out signings with Mthokozisi Dube’s arrival from Orlando Pirates grabbing the main headlines. I fancy Celtic here.

Cape Town City 17/20
Draw 22/10
Chippa United 33/10

Tough times lie ahead for Cape Town City as they head into their season opener against Chippa United with very little firepower. City have had to deal with the loss of Kermit Erasmus, who moved to Mamelodi Sundowns, while Fagrie Lakay picked up a red card in their MTN8 clash against Orlando Pirates, ruling him out of this tie. They could, however, welcome back Surprise Ralani, who missed the last game due to injury concerns. Chippa United have made some decent acquisitions, most notably Bienvenu Eva Nga and Ryan Rae from Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park. That, coupled with the brilliant football that comes with Lehlohonolo Seema, could make things tricky for Cape Town City. I’m backing these sides to cancel each other out.

AmaZulu 33/10
Draw 22/10
Orlando Pirates 17/20

My personal favourites for the DStv Premiership, Orlando Pirates, get their campaign underway in Durban when they travel to face AmaZulu at Kings Park Stadium. Pirates were impressive in their MTN8 encounter, getting the better of Cape Town City through a Terrence Dzvukamanja header on debut. AmaZulu ended last season strongly in the bio-bubble, enduring a four-game unbeaten run to maintain survival. Usuthu have looked the part under Ayanda Dlamini, though I fear that their motivational tactics, influenced by Moeneeb Josephs may have died down in the new season. Pirates should kick-start their campaign with a victory in Durban.

SuperSport United 8/10
Draw 23/10
Black Leopards 7/2

SuperSport United’s 3-2 victory over Tshakhuma brought back the old football cliché of the game being a tale of two halves. United went 3-0 up in the first half before the Limpopo-based side netted a consolation goal minutes before the half-time break. Perhaps complacency began to creep in as Kaitano Tembo began to ring in the changes as Tshakhuma made it nervy for SuperSport United at the end. A few positives for Matsatsantsa were Gamphani Lungu and Iqraam Rayners in attack. It’s looking like it could be a long season for Black Leopards. They’re yet to announce any of their new signings as things stand, while the players currently training with the club don’t give much confidence of strengthening the team. Back the hosts at a decent price of 8/10.

Sunday 25 October

Stellenbosch 12/10
Draw 21/10
Swallows FC 22/10

Sunday’s action gets underway at the Danie Craven Stadium as Stellenbosch welcome Swallows FC back to the top flight. The hosts didn’t do too badly last season, finishing in 10th spot, well-clear of the relegation zone, while Steve Barker’s men were just three points off the top eight. Swallows have utilized the transfer market well as they hope to maintain their top-flight status. The Dube Birds have acquired the signings of Keagan Ritchie, Sammy Seabi, Thabo Matlaba, Musa Nyatama and Kamohelo “Nyaope” Mahlatsi to name a few. My money is on a draw here.

Tshakhuma TM 1/1
Draw 21/10
TS Galaxy 28/10

New boys on the block, Tshakhuma and TS Galaxy, close off the proceedings in the first round of the DStv Premiership. The hosts got their campaign off to a disappointing 3-2 defeat against SuperSport United in the MTN8. There were a few key positives for Tshakhuma, most notably with Meshack Maphangule and Miguel Timm in midfield and Lerato Lamola and Mogakolodi Ngele in the more advanced areas. Life without Terrence Mashego begins for TS Galaxy, although they did sign Ebrahim Seedat from Cape Town City, but only time will tell how well he settles in at the 2018 Nedbank Cup champions. Dan Malesela has been reappointed as TS Galaxy’s head coach and he’ll be hoping to mark his return with another successful spell with the club. Funny enough, I fancy the visitors to pick up maximum points.

TREBLE @ 15/2
Maritzburg United Win 12/10
Bloem Celtic Win 11/10
SuperSport United Win 8/10

Written by Jesse Nagel