Two of South Africa’s oldest professional clubs square off at Kings Park, where AmaZulu host Orlando Pirates on Saturday night.
AmaZulu vs Orlando Pirates: PSL preview
The two sides finished on opposite ends of the PSL table in the previous campaign, with Usuthu ending up fourth from bottom, while the Buccaneers rallied to wind up in third place.
There has been an overhaul at each end, with Pirates bringing in six new players while releasing almost a dozen, while AmaZulu announced ten new signings, including three former Buccaneers.
Defender Thembela Sikhakhane returns to the coast, where he spent most of his senior professional career on loan from the Soweto Giants. He is joined by former first-team players Augustine Mulenga and Luvuyo Memela, who have also joined permanently.
PSL team news
Other players who will be turning out in green in the coming season include another ex-Buccaneer in Siphelele Mthembu, as well as Bafana legend Siphiwe Tshabalala. Both players joined as free agents but might have to bide their time before making their respective debuts for their new club, according to coach Ayanda Dlamini.
“They joined us this week, and some of them, when it comes to fitness, are very behind. We know Shabba hasn’t played for some time now. So is Mthembu,” the former AmaZulu striker told The Sowetan.
Ayanda Dlamini, AmaZulu coach
For Dlamini’s Pirates counterpart, Josef Zinnbauer, it is go-time as he looks to begin his first full campaign at a club with expectant fans after a lengthy dry spell.
Several reinforcements have been brought in at the Soweto outfit in the new season, and competition for starting spots is set to heat up.
Some of the new arrivals have already had a run in Pirates colours, with big names such as long-time skipper Happy Jele and Thembinkosi Lorch missing out in the 1-0 MTN 8 win against Cape Town City.
In the case of the latter, who clinched the Footballer of the Year award in the 2018/19 season, the German mentor made no guarantee on whether or not he will feature against AmaZulu.
“We have top quality in this squad, and all players have to work, and this season we have [more options], we can improve with having two players in each position,” Zinnbauer said “We’ve improved this with all the new players which means the old players have to work and the new players [to get into the team].
Josef Zinnbauer, Orlando Pirates coach
“Maybe against [AmaZulu] we’ll need another player in that position or we change the system a little bit. We know who Lorch is and his quality, we need his quality, and also on the other side of the bench we have other quality players who didn’t play so that’s good for us.”
Kick-off time and where to watch
The match will kick off at 20:15 (SAST) and will stream live on the PSL channel (202) on Supersport. Subscription required.