With the 2013-2014 PSL campaign less than 12 hours away from kick-off, Goal South Africa highlights five aspects of the new season every fan should be excited about
Despite suggestions that a club from Soweto is guaranteed the title, the 2013-2014 campaign should be intriguing and competitive, with many teams determined to improve from last season.
Goal South Africa decided to discuss five exciting elements of the new season, which kicks-off in less than twelve hours.
|CHIEFS "SUSTAINING" THE GLORY
In May 2013, Kaizer Chiefs mission to “reclaim” the glory of the past was fulfilled by Stuart Baxter’s charges. AmaKhosi finished the season with a first league title in eight years and a Nedbank Cup triumph, shifting the balance of power across Soweto to Naturena.
An attack-minded and ruthless style of play, along with possessing some of the most talented South African footballers, means Kaizer Chiefs is touted to continue their domination into the new season.
2013-2013 sees the return of Zimbabwean international and former favourite Knowledge Musona to the club, while Chiefs have kept faith with the majority of the squad which won the title last season.
With many expecting the PSL title to stay in Soweto, Kaizer Chiefs will need to fight off rivals in what should be an enthralling defence of their long-awaited crown.
|SUNDOWNS SEEKING REDEMPTION
Many Mamelodi Sundowns fans will want to forget last season’s 10th place finish. The Brazilians were relegation candidates for the first half of the campaign and encountered fan protests, a goal-drought and a general lack of form which gripped every part of the expensively-assembled squad.
The introduction of former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane saved Sundowns from the ignominy of a relegation battle. However, Mosimane could not inspire his team to finish in the top 8 – a major disappointment for a club which prides itself on its competitiveness.
The dawn of a new season and more importantly the transfer window sparked Patrice Motsepe into action, as Sundowns continue to introduce new talent into their ranks.
More expense may not bring the desired results, but Pitso Mosimane will plan to mould his new-look squad into a potent team, which can banish the grievances from last year and forge ahead towards a brighter future.
|THE BUCCANEERS' BACKLASH
Orlando Pirates will fight tooth and nail to reclaim the PSL title from Kaizer Chiefs this season. The core of the double treble winners has not been shaken, with many of the influential players still present in Roger de Sa’s squad.
Their Caf Champions League exploits aside, Pirates underperformed and were ravaged by injuries during the 2012-2013 season. Pressure will be placed firmly on the defiant shoulders of Roger de Sa and the coach will seek to overthrow Chiefs and regain the throne which Pirates ruled for two years.
One of the fiercest rivalries in African football has been given added importance by the quality within the two Soweto giants squads. The gripping dual is only set to continue as Pirates and Chiefs battle for another PSL trophy.
|BARKER "THE DOG'S" BLACK ACES
Mpumalanga Black Aces were inducted into the PSL after what has been described as a “brutal” promotions playoff campaign. AmaZayoni saw off Santos and Chippa United to regain their spot in the top-flight, roping in the services of one of South Africa’s most respected coaches in the process.
Clive Barker showed he still has what it takes by rousing Bidvest Wits to a fourth place finish last season, and will challenge himself once again to turn Black Aces into a lethal unit. The man nicknamed “the Dog” has been given a substantial transfer kitty, bringing in no fewer than 18 players during the past two months.
AmaZayoni and Barker will not merely be targeting survival this season, with the coach determined to challenge the PSL big guns, starting with the toughest test of all – a clash against defending champions Kaizer Chiefs.
Manchester City’s new development school will enhance Mpumalanga’s footballing culture, which means Black Aces could be long-term participants in the PSL. This season becomes vital for the club, which may shock a few top sides in the process.
|NEW COACHES, NEW POSSIBILITIES
Gavin Hunt’s pedigree is unquestionable and the former SuperSport United coach will be unwavering in his desire to bring silverware to any club he is in charge of. Bidvest Wits is Hunt’s new task, after the gritty competitor turned Matsatsatnsa into a dominant force in South African football.
Hunt will bring new ideas to the Clever Boys and should improve the team which finished an impressive fourth last season. With a number of new signings already confirmed, the tenacious coach is already making his mark on the club which is pursuing glory in the near future.
Cavin Johnson almost upset the apple cart last season, taking his Platinum Stars team within a hair-breadth away from a shock PSL title. He replaces Hunt at SuperSport, bringing his stars from Dikwena with him in the form of Thuso Phala and Innocent Mkhabela. Now with improved reserves in terms of talent, financial power and support structures, Johnson can weave his magic once again.
With Hunt in control of Wits and the Cavin Johnson now in charge of SuperSport, the PSL has gained a more competitive edge this season, as more teams will be harder to beat, meaning the result of the league is no forgone conclusion.