PSL / 30 July 2019, 12:30pm / Matshelane Mamabolo and Minenhle Mkhize
JOHANNESBURG – Early on in the advent of the PSL, Mamelodi Sundowns won the league title on three successive seasons - Ted Dumitru winning two and Paul Dolezar adding the third.
Their neighbours SuperSport United emulated them later on under the tutelage of Gavin Hunt.
Pitso Mosimane is looking to become only the second coach to win a hat-trick of PSL titles when the season kicks off with a Tshwane derby clash against Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
But along with Hunt, he is seeking a record-setting fifth championship. Who of these two will triumph? Or will the season produce a new winning coach?
Minenhle Mkhize and Matshelane Mamabolo look at the four clubs they believes are likely to be crowned the 2019/20 Absa Premiership champions.
The defending champions remain the team to beat, the reported rumours of a rift between Mosimane and the club’s management notwithstanding. Under Mosimane, Sundowns have shown that they can win the title irrespective of the circumstances - whether they lead from the front, chase from behind or go neck-and-neck with the opposition until the final day.
Their incredible strength in depth has meant that they are able to compete on many fronts and still produce the goods. Bet on them to do the same in this campaign too.
Will it be a case of third time lucky for the Buccaneers and their coach Micho Sredejovic? Twice they have finished runners-up since the likeable Serb returned to the club.
He is under severe pressure to deliver and the club has ensured he wants for nothing by raiding the transfer market and adding quality players to his squad while keeping the core of the squad that ran Sundowns close in the last two campaigns.
The big question is whether Micho will be able to find a place for the likes of Siphesihle Ndlovu, Tshegofatso Mabasa, Bongani Sam, Kabelo Dlamini, Joris Dell, Tebogo Tlolane and Gabadinho Mhango in his already established team.
Championship success will also be dependent on them turning Orlando Stadium into a fortress, unlike last season where their home record was poor.
If there is a man who has mastered the art of signing horses for courses, it is the four-time league winning coach in charge of the Clever Boys.
Beaten to the championship again by Mosimane, Gavin Hunt would love nothing more than to be the first coach to get to five league titles in the PSL. And doing so by stopping Mosimane from matching his record of a hat-trick of titles will be that much sweeter.
His signings suggest Wits will again be serious contenders this campaign with all of Brandon Petersen, Siyanda Zwane, Phathu Nange, Sameehg Doutie, Prince Nxumalo, Zitha Macheke, Carl Lark and Ivan Mahangwahaya now home at Braamfontein.
And unlike Sundowns and Pirates, Wits have has no continental assignments to worry about.
Cape Town City
Isn’t it incredible that a team that is only three years old can be considered championship contenders?
Well, such are the rewards for having a clear plan, goals and strategy to achieve those. John Comitis knew exactly what he wanted when he bought the status of Mpumalanga Black Aces and the fact that the club has already won two trophies and have been an ever present in the top eight testifies to this.
They go into the new season having retained the core of their team while adding the experienced and versatile Abbubaker Mobara to their squad. Coach Benni McCarthy has grown into the job and the street smarts that made him the superstar striker in his playing days is evident in his coaching.
He is sure to push the experienced Mosimane, Micho and Hunt all the way in the battle for the league title.