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Soweto derby first up as Orlando Pirates face Swallows FC in opening weekend

Orlando Pirates will kick off their DStv Premiership campaign with a clash against Soweto rivals Swallows FC

FILE - Orlando Pirates will kick off their DStv Premiership campaign with a clash against Soweto rivals Swallows FC. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Durban — New Orlando Pirates striker Bienvenu Eva Nga has pledged to give it his all as the club kicks off their season with a huge match against Soweto rivals Swallows FC on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium at 5.30pm.

Nga will have to fend off Kwame Peprah, Zakhele Lepasa and fellow new arrival Evidence Makgopa for the number nine position, but the 29-year-old has expressed his intent to put the team’s needs first before any competition for places.

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“I think we all understand we’re a group first and are working towards making the team better. I know that if I’m starting I’ll need to give it my best and give it everything,” he told the club’s media department.

He added: “It starts at training during the week. If I’m not playing, I like to go to my teammates and wish them all the best and tell them ‘may God bless you and may you do well and score goals for the team’. I know that if it’s someone else’s turn to play, I must respect that.”

Pirates’ first opponents in the Dube Birds will be looking to avoid the events of last season, when they ensured their top flight status via the promotion/relegation play-offs.

Coach Dylan Kerr has been rewarded for saving the club from the drop with a permanent post and will be trusted to guide a fairly thin group of players after the club lost Dillon Solomons, Kamohelo Mahlatsi and George Matlou to Kaizer Chiefs.

From the oldest the derby to newest, Richards Bay FC will tackle fellow KwaZulu-Natal counterparts Golden Arrows in their first ever match in the DStv Premiership on Saturday in a 3pm kick-off at the Princess Magogo Stadium.

The Natal Rich Boyz coach Pitso Dladla has bolstered his squad with a few experienced heads in former Pirates players Abel Mabaso, Nkanyiso Zungu and most recently Luvuyo Memela and will look to kick off his season on a positive note.

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Abafana Bes’thende will begin their campaign with a great deal of uncertainty as new co-coaches Mabhuti Khenyeza and Vusumuzi Vilakazi look to guide a fairly young group of players to a position higher than last season’s ninth place finish.

Maritzburg United will be brimming with optimism as new coach John Maduka takes charge of his first official game when the side welcomes Sekhukhune United FC in the 8pm encounter.

The sides head into this match knowing little about each other following numerous changes in the technical team and playing personnel in the off-season.

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New Babina Noko coach Kaitano Tembo will look to enforce his playing philosophy as early as possible as the club looks to build on last season’s 11th place finish.

@SmisoMsomi16

IOL Sport

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