Durban — Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns will kick off their title defence with a tricky assignment away to Cape Town City, one of a few teams expected to challenge them this season.
The Brazilian have stranglehold on the South African football, and their treble-winning campaign last season ensured they won their first ever MTN8 title and fifth league title in a row.
The 2022-23 campaign is expected to follow suit as no clear contenders have emerged to challenge a dominant Sundowns.
IOL Sport's Smiso Msomi takes a look at three teams capable to turning the tables on Sundowns this season.
Cape Town City
Cape Town City find themselves in unfamiliar territory heading into the season. While they have made massive strides over the years, they are yet to begin a campaign as one of the frontrunners to challenge Sundowns for championship honours.
City have proven their ability to attract the brightest talents and turn them into title contenders, especially under the stewardship of coach Eric Tinkler.
Surprisingly enough Tinkler has one of the smallest squads in the league, a recipe for disaster if one considers their gruelling continental expeditions in the Caf Champions League.
One of the biggest boosts for City however was their ability to hold onto their most priced assets in the transfer window. The likes of Mduduzi Mdantsane, Khanyisa Mayo and Terrence Mashego at the back seem to get better with each match and will shoulder the responsibility of contentions on all fronts.
The success and failure of Kaizer Chiefs this season is held by a thin thread, as the club looks to fully back the “Zwane Project” ahead of what is expected to be a tricky campaign.
Stellenbosch FC and Royal AM may be ahead of Chiefs in the race to catch Sundowns, but both teams made significant changes in either management or playing personnel, in fact, the most integral players for Stellies last season will line up in the gold and black of Amakhosi.
Chiefs’ campaign will rest on how quickly their new recruits gel and if they can find their feet quickly enough, they could come closest to dethroning Sundowns.
Orlando Pirates have always boasted one of the strongest squads in the league and will head into the 2022-23 campaign in the same vein, but searching for the required direction to mount a title challenge.
In comes Spanish international coach Jose Riveiro to pick up where Mandla Ncikazi (who is now an assistant) left off to hopefully steer the Sea Robbers ship back on a golden path.
The 46-year-old could emerge as a surprise package this term, and having lured Bienvenu Eva Ngah to add to the firepower of Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Deon Hotto, Pirates could be perfectly poised for a successful title challenge.