Cape Town - Just three days before the start of the new season, Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas has labelled Mamelodi Sundowns as favourites to win a ninth league title.
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Amakhosi and Sundowns kick off the 2018/19 Premiership campaign when they lock horns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon, with five fixtures to follow in the evening.
The Brazilians won a record eighth championship last term with one game to spare as they finished five points ahead of Orlando Pirates.
Solinas is finally set to begin his tenure at the Chiefs helm this weekend after receiving his work permit on Tuesday, having been absent from the touchline when Pitso Mosimane's side beat the Glamour Boys 2-1 to lift the Shell Helix Ultra Cup last month.
The Italian admits Masandawana are at an advantage due to their participation in the CAF Champions League, which has seen them play four competitive matches already during pre-season, but insists his team are up for the challenge in Arcadia.
"Playing against the reigning champions is never easy. Sundowns started their season early, because they had to play African Champions League games," Solinas told his club's official website.
"They are the favourites for this season and they have a fantastic coach in Pitso Mosimane, who leads his team in special ways.
"I would have preferred to have played them next month, but this is how it is. I know the expectations are very high. It will be a tough game, but we are ready."