JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane predicts a repeat of the past couple of seasons in the league race with the usual suspects fighting for the Absa Premiership.
The top three teams from last season - Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits - all started the league with a win this weekend. Fallen champions Kaizer Chiefs also won while Cape Town City were held to a 2-2 draw by Baroka FC after being 2-0 up.
“I think that it will be the same movie you watched last season and the season before that,” Mosimane said. “I saw SuperSport United’s game against Stellenbosch in pre-season. Most of the things came out the way they were.
“I saw the KZN Premier Cup. I see (Golden) Arrows being the same. I saw the (Soweto) derby, I saw that Chiefs had two halves. In the second half they could have scored, they had chances to do so.
“The score wasn’t a true reflection of that game, yes Pirates were very good. We saw that. But that’s why I don’t want to undermine Kaizer Chiefs at this moment because they are a tough team to beat. Pirates is Pirates. They are on their bikes. They run. They are quick and they play on the break.
“They are adventurous and they score goals. You’ve got to know how to play Pirates. For me, it’s going to be the same thing.”
The Brazilians will, however, come out different this season in how they set-up their stall.
“Rivaldo Coetzee will play more in central midfield, a step away from the centre back role where he made his name and saw him breaking a 15-year record that was previously held by Aaron Mokoena as the youngest player to play for Bafana Bafana.
“He likes to play as a centre back more than the No 6 position,” Mosimane said. “It’s the same thing I told (Siboniso) Pa Gaxa when he was playing at centre back.
“He played with Kaitano (Tembo) there. I said to him yes you can play as a centre back and you can get away with it in South Africa. But I said to him, if you want to play for Bafana and you want to go overseas, I think that you should play at right-back.
“You have to deal with big boys at centre back, I didn’t think that Pa had the body to do that.
“There was no ways anyone was going to sign him in Europe as a centre back. And then he played in the World Cup as a right-back, from there he went to Europe.
“It’s my belief because I look at the way they play, I am with them every day. I see, this one when he plays at centre back he doesn’t lose one single ball. I said let’s stress him a little bit by putting him in midfield. He just plays. He’s got quality.”
Coetzee’s quality and elevation in central midfield gives Hlompho Kekana more freedom to venture forward to unleash his venomous shots. He did that several times against Matsatsantsa a Pitori in the 2-0 win.
“We are also looking after him,” Mosimane said.
“We need him. We are just managing him well, the same with (Wayne) Arendse. Age isn’t on their side. But the good thing with them, when they play, they always give you quality.”