It’s all about the rulers and the new­com­ers

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

Two key events will draw the at­ten­tion dur­ing this long week­end’s Absa Premier­ship fix­tures: Kaizer Chiefs start the de­fence of their league ti­tle while Golden Ar­rows and Jomo Cos­mos mark their re­turn to elite football.

Amakhosi, fresh from a pos­i­tive start in their bid to de­fend the MTN8 Cup tro­phy – where they came back from 2-0 down to win 5-3 over Mar­itzburg United – will face Chippa United at the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium in Port El­iz­a­beth this af­ter­noon. Ar­rows, who gained au­to­matic pro­mo­tion af­ter just one sea­son in the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion (NFD), will host Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria at Chatsworth Sta­dium in Dur­ban to­day. Cos­mos will open their cam­paign against Mar­itzburg United in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to­mor­row.

United should be on a high af­ter their gallant re­sis­tance in their MTN8 Cup quar­ter­fi­nal en­counter with Chiefs mid­week.

It was un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of Amakhosi to con­cede three goals in a match, es­pe­cially for a team that ended their last cam­paign with a record of only 14 goals against them in 30 league matches.

Their new coach, Steve Kom­phela, said he would “like to see a Chiefs team that is stingy with con­ced­ing goals” af­ter his side fi­nally over­came Mar­itzburg in ex­tra time.

In­ter­est­ingly, Ar­rows and Cos­mos will meet in their very next Premier­ship fix­ture in the game Sono’s side will host at Potchef­stroom’s Olën Park Sta­dium, North West, on Au­gust 23.

Sono’s larger-than-life char­ac­ter and out­spo­ken na­ture have been sorely missed in the three sea­sons his beloved Cos­mos were in the NFD wilder­ness. Ezenkosi de­parted the Premier­ship scene with an un­wanted record when they were rel­e­gated at the end of the 2011/12 sea­son. They had recorded just two wins and lost half of their 30 league games.

Ar­rows, too, fared par­tic­u­larly badly when they were de­moted.

They had con­ceded 50 goals in 30 league games.

How­ever, the two sides have been beef­ing up their squads over the past few days.

Abafana Bes’thende’s new coach, Ser­ame Let­soaka, has signed striker Ryan Chap­man on loan from Bid­vest Wits among the num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers that joined the Dur­ban-based side in the cur­rent player-trans­fer win­dow.

Oth­ers are Rod­ney Ra­m­a­galela from Mamelodi Sun­downs, Glad­win Shi­tolo (Or­lando Pi­rates) and Edgar Manaka (Plat­inum Stars).

Sono has bol­stered his side with lit­tle-known sign­ings, but will keep his prized Zim­bab­wean top striker, Charl­ton Mashumba, who re­joined the team this week from tri­als in Por­tu­gal.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

NEW KID Ser­ame Let­soaka joined Ar­rows

from Su­perS­port, where he had been as­sis­tant

coach

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

NEW MIS­SION

Steve Kom­phela is the new Kaizer Chiefs coach

PHOTO: BARRY ALD­WORTH / BACKPAGEPIX

EC­STATIC The ev­er­colour­ful Jomo Sono

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