Chiefs and Pirates hoping to challenge Sundowns

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The 2022/23 DStv Premiership season gets underway on the opening weekend of August, with Mamelodi Sundowns going in search in their sixth straight title.
The action kicks off on Friday evening as Sundowns begin their title defence away to Cape Town City at the DHL Stadium.
The Citizens managed to take four points off the Brazilians last season after holding them to goalless draws in Cape Town and Pretoria in the league.
They also met in the 2021 MTN 8 final, which saw Masandawana win 3-2 on penalties to claim the first of their three trophies for the 2021/22 campaign.
Downs co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi expects a strong challenge from their rivals this term after seeing a number of clubs being very active in the current transfer window.
"Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have improved their squads, you still have CT City and Royal AM that did exceptionally well last season. You still have Stellenbosch, you look at how AmaZulu and Sekhukhune have recruited, it looks like it's going to be a tighter and stronger season," Mngqithi said.
"Everybody says they're going to fight against Sundowns, they're making a mistake because they also have to fight among themselves. It's going to be an interesting season, a season that may also capacitate our performance in the Champions League."
Then on Saturday, Orlando Pirates will be targeting a major improvement in the league when they take on local rivals Swallows at the Orlando Stadium.
The Buccaneers made it all the way to the CAF Confederation Cup final in May before losing to RS Berkane on penalties, but their continental campaign came at a cost as they finished a disappointing sixth in the DStv Premiership.
The Dube Birds managed to stave off relegation after they had to navigate the playoffs to retain their top-flight status, having finished second from bottom in the standings.
New Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro, who replaced Mandla Ncikazi at the helm in the off-season, insists that his assistant still has a major role to play at Mayfair going forward.
"He [Ncikazi] is a very humble guy with a lot of experience in the country," Riveiro said. "I'm smart enough to understand that he is going to have a huge contribution (to make) for us to accelerate the process to help us understand the culture, players, coaches and everything around the game.
"I really appreciate what Mandla is doing for us and he is going to be an important part of the staff."
Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs will be hoping that Arthur Zwane can bring back the glory days to Naturena as they open proceedings against Royal AM at Chatsworth Stadium.
Zwane oversaw the final seven games of last term after taking over the reins from Stuart Baxter in April, but he was unable to secure CAF football as the Glamour Boys finished fifth.
Thwihli Thwahla enjoyed a stellar debut campaign in the top flight and just missed out on qualifying for the CAF Champions League after being pipped to second place by Cape Town City.
The Chiefs squad underwent a huge facelift in the off-season, with numerous players leaving and seven recruited, but Zwane is adamant they will be challenging for silverware.
"As much we're in a rebuilding phase we'll still go for the kill," he said. "Kaizer Chiefs is the team that's got a rich history, it's a team that got the culture of winning.
"So we're not going to go there and say we're still building. As much as we're building we still have to grind the results."
Elsewhere, newly-promoted Richards Bay get the ball rolling against AmaZulu at the Princess Magogo Stadium, while Marumo Gallants begin life under Romain Folz at home to Stellenbosch and Maritzburg United host Sekhukhune United at the Harry Gwala Stadium as John Maduka and Kaitano Tembo look to make a winning start to their respective tenures.
The opening weekend concludes with another two head coaches debuting on Sunday as Gavin Hunt leads SuperSport United against Daine Klate's Chippa United at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium and TS Galaxy welcome AmaZulu to the Bidvest Stadium a couple of hours earlier in the day.


DStv Premiership preview:

Friday, August 5
19h30: Cape Town City v Mamelodi Sundowns
Saturday, August 6
15h00: Golden Arrows v Richards Bay
15h00: Marumo Gallants v Stellenbosch
15h00: Orlando Pirates v Swallows
17h30: Royal AM v Kaizer Chiefs
20h00: Maritzburg United v Sekhukhune United
Sunday, August 7
15h00: TS Galaxy v AmaZulu
17h30: SuperSport United v Chippa United

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Published: 08/01/2022