Cape Town - After an international break that South African football fans would rather forget, attention shifts back to the PSL this weekend where there are a few tasty fixtures on offer.
Lloyd Burnard highlights some of the talking points ahead of a weekend that sees 14 of the 16 sides in the league in action.
ARE SUPERSPORT THE REAL DEAL?
There are many who consider SuperSport to be genuine title contenders this season, and a win over Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday will go a long way towards reinforcing that line of thinking. Coach Gordon Igesund has downplayed the significance of the match in terms of how it will affect his title charge, but there is no doubt that victory against the league champions would be a massive statement. The good news for SuperSport is that all of their international players have returned fit.
Both sides have won once and drawn twice so far this season, which makes victory even more crucial in their bids to launch their respective title campaigns.
ERNST IS BACK
Ernst Middendorp has managed Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg United (twice), Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United. Now, Middendorp takes over at Free State Stars where he starts with a home clash against Chippa on Saturday. The stage is set for Middendorp, and his mandate will simply be to pick up points and move Stars away from the bottom of the table. With the German tactician’s well-known emphasis on rigid defensive structures, Stars will likely become a difficult side to break down in future weeks – which will result in points even if they come in the form of stalemates.
ARROWS’ FIRST REAL TEST
Golden Arrows have picked up four points from the opening three rounds of fixtures – a good return for the promoted Durban club. But they will face their first real test of the season in Saturday’s early kick-off when they host Mamelodi Sundowns. If they can get something from this game they will surely approach the rest of the campaign without any fear, but a big loss will invite in just a little bit of doubt.
It is also a big test for Pitso Mosimane and ‘Downs. If they want to be challenging for league honours at the end of the season then these are the types of games that they have to be winning.
ALL EYES ON WITS
Gavin Hunt and Bidvest Wits are in the unfortunate position of having their every move watched right now after being punted heavily as title contenders. But with that comes the obvious expectation to win most weekends.
They travel to Tuks on Sunday, and will be looking to Sibusiso Vilakazi, Elias Pelembe and Daine Klate to spark things.
A glance through the Wits squad certainly suggests that they have the star power, so all that is left is for them to prove that they can be consistently good enough to win the league.
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Saturday, September 12
Golden Arrows v Mamelodi Sundowns - 15:00
Free State Stars v Chippa United - 15:00
SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs - 18:00
Ajax Cape Town v Polokwane City - 20:15
Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic - 20:15
Sunday, September 13
Jomo Cosmos v Platinum Stars - 15:00
University of Pretoria v Wits - 15:00