New PSL season kicks off

2014-08-07 09:46
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo)

Cape Town - Defending Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns kick-off the 2014/15 season on Friday with the knowledge that success will be hard to come by second time around.

Read Here: Why Sundowns will win the PSL title

“The league is a marathon and one has to really prepare well for such a test especially when you are the defending champions,” Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said ahead of their Pretoria clash against Maritzburg United.

“First on our agenda is Maritzburg United who are a closed book at this stage because we have not seen them in any pre-season.”

A nail-biting end to last season saw Mosimane add further silverware to his already impressive resume, but with that success comes added pressure for the big-spending Chloorkop outfit.

Two points was all that separated Sundowns from Kaizer Chiefs, who made a resilient charge for the title but were eventually outdone.

Read Here: Why Chiefs will win the PSL title

“When you’re at a club with ambition, I don’t think you need to write down that you need to win 'x' amount of trophies,” Stuart Baxter said of Chiefs’ new campaign, which starts on Saturday against Free State Stars at Charles Mopeli Stadium.

“The simple fact is that every game you play, you want to win. Every tournament you enter, you want to win."

“Does that mean you’re being big-headed? No it doesn’t. It means you’re being realistic, that’s the pressure we work under. That’s what we live with. When you’re at Chiefs, people expect.”

Amakhosi have already gone one better than Sundowns this season, progressing through the opening round of the MTN8, while Mosimane’s troops made a shock exit at the hands of defending champions Platinum Stars last week.

As a result, Chiefs head into this weekend’s action knowing Sundowns are beatable and will look to keep their side clean, in an attempt to re-claim their league crown.

Third-place finishers last season and Nedbank Cup runners-up, Gavin Hunt and Wits will hope to continue making strides in a bid to establish themselves as a contender for top honours.

Read Here: Why Wits will win the PSL title

Wits came close on both fronts during the 2013/14 campaign and will be buoyed by a number of quality signings, which could prove to be the difference when the race goes down to the wire early next year.

Hunt has formed a formidable partnership with his squad and is seeing results. Players like Buhle Mkhwanazi, Giorgi Nergadze and Chris Katongo have all come on board and Wits should see their challenge for a top four finish greatly enhanced as a result.

They begin their quest with a tough test away to SuperSport United in Atteridgeville, where both sides could see their chances of a top-four finish hindered by Orlando Pirates and Mpumalanga Black Aces, who are all vying for the same position.

The quartet were involved in a four-way dash for third spot last season, which Wits eventually claimed.

Although Pirates boast a season which saw them reach every cup final available to them in 2013/14, the Buccaneers were left disappointed with their fourth place finish - a massive 19 points adrift of Sundowns.

Read Here: Why Pirates will win the PSL title

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Chippa United will want to see their extensive investment pay off when they host Platinum Stars in their opening game of the season.

A move to Port Elizabeth, as well as a number of new faces, could see the Chilli Boys stay up this season, avoiding the relegation zone again.

Moroka Swallows will have the hardest task of all 16 Premiership teams early in the new season, following the departure of a number of key players to other clubs.

Coach Zeca Marques will be one to watch as the ever-revolving door of hiring and firing could be swinging his way should the results not be forthcoming.


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