It’s all about the rulers and the newcomers
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.
NEW KID Serame Letsoaka joined Arrows
from SuperSport, where he had been assistant
Steve Komphela is the new Kaizer Chiefs coach
ECSTATIC The evercolourful Jomo Sono