Durban - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is adamant the club's new signings will fare much better than some of the other big names they have recruited in past, as they prepare for the new premier league season which kicks off this weekend.
“In our approach for recruiting players this time around, we have gone with the theme 'young and hungry',” Mosimane said earlier in the week.
“Now, these players are prepared to die with their boots on for the Sundowns brand and that’s exactly what we intended.”
Mosimane invested heavily during the off season, signing more than 10 players, including Zambia's goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who moved from Free State Stars and Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila, previously with Maritzburg United.
The Brazilians, who endured a torrid 2012/13 campaign which placed them 10th on the log standings, begin their season against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free State Stadium on Sunday in what is the pick of the first round games.
Fourteen out of the 16 teams will be in action this weekend, with eight of those playing on Saturday. Among them will be Moroka Swallows and Ajax Cape Town, who disappointingly missed out on the top eight last season.
The Birds kick-off the day's action against University of Pretoria at the Dobsonville Stadium with coach Zeca Marques determined to improve on their ninth place finish from the last campaign.
“Last year was a roller coaster season for us,” Marques said.
“We lost five games in a row which turned our season upside down, but in the second half we were one of the most improved teams.
“We've had a great pre-season and we're very confident about our future.”
Ajax travel to Durban where they will play Golden Arrows at the King Zwelithini Stadium, also on Saturday.
Their coach Muhsin Ertugral has also set his sights on a much better showing than their 14th place last season.
“This club deserves to be in a far better position than that,” the Turkish coach said.
“We want to bring more pride back to the jersey and we want a much improved season from Ajax.”
Also on Saturday, SuperSport United will begin their first season in over six years without Gavin Hunt at the helm, with new coach Cavin Johnson set for his debut against Free State Stars at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Both clubs ended last season in the top eight.
The other game marks the premiership debut of Polokwane City after their fairytale promotion last season. The club won the National First Division despite the tragedy of losing four squad members in a November motor vehicle accident.
Their first match is against Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.
On Sunday, Johnson’s former club Platinum Stars, the surprise team last year after they ended second, play against the ambitious Bidvest Wits, who are now coached by Hunt, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Orlando Pirates are not in league action over the weekend due to their involvement in the CAF Champions League where they play Egyptian club Al Ahly. Their opening Premiership fixture is scheduled for Thursday against AmaZulu in Johannesburg.