Five major talking points of the PSL’s opening weekend
David Minchella assesses five points that really stood out on the opening weekend.
(1) Kaizer Chiefs’ new signings get mixed reports…
Lazarous Kambole, Samir Nurkovic and Kearyn Baccus received positive and negative feedback after their involvement in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Highlands Park.
It was Nurkovic who walked away from the winner with many fans lauding his link-up play and creativity in the final third, as he recorded an assist for Lebogang Manyama’s second goal.
Kambole only shone in brief glimpses as he struggled to get into the game with the Zambia star getting very little service on the left-wing.
Meanwhile, despite recording an assist for the first goal, Baccus was the biggest loser as he was substituted at half-time and replaced with Dumisani Zuma.
Fan Musa Nhlapo told SABN’s David Minchella: “Baccus, 5/10, apart from the assist was nowhere.
“Kambole, 6/10, glimpses of a good player, played in patches as soon as he regains his confidence he’ll be a big player for us.
“Nurkovic, 8/10, my Man-of-the-Match, great in the air combined well with Zuma, Manyama and Bernard Parker. He can only get better.”
(2) Augustine Mulenga looks headed for a big season for Orlando Pirates…
The Sea Robbers started 2019/20 season in exactly the fashion they would have wished with a 3-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic on an opening day.
Mulenga was a creative force in the Premiership last season for Pirates as he recorded eight assists, though he managed just two league goals.
However, the 29-year-old followed up his goal against Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup final with a goal and an assist against Siwelele.
Should he continue this kind of prolific form, Bucs will remain Mamelodi Sundowns’ biggest challengers for the PSL title.
(3) Sundowns are making football look easy…
Sundowns exploded out of the blocks in 2019/20 with a routine 2-0 victory over an uninspired SuperSport United in the Tshwane derby.
The defending Premiership champions made light of speculation that coach Pitso Mosimane has had a falling out with senior club officials regarding the possible appointment of a foreign technical director.
They controlled possession against Matsatsantsa and were it not for Ronwen Williams, the 2-0 scoreline could have been greater.
Once again Mosimane’s side showed great versatility in all positions as last season’s regular right-back Thapelo Morena recorded two assists from right-wing, with Anele Ngcongca playing full-back.
Once again ‘Jingles’ ability to innovate came to the fore as centre-back Ricardo Coetzee played in a defensive midfielder position with a great pedigree, however, it does call into the question the futures of Oupa Manyisa and Andile Jali.
(4) Gavin Hunt is capable of making any team competitive…
Despite some massive financial restructuring at Bidvest Wits which saw key senior players leave, as well as cuts made in the development structure as well as in the side’s media department among others – coach Gavin Hunt continues to show his direct and physical brand of football can work with virtually any type of players.
The Clever Boys were the biggest winners on the weekend as they thrashed AmaZulu 3-0 in Durban with the likes of new signings Sameehg Doutie, Brandon Petersen and Zitha Macheke impressing.
Doutie, in particular, was outstanding as he recorded an assist for Terrence Dzvukamanja first goal. Deon Hotto continues to look Wits’ most dangerous player as he scored the side’s second goal. Last season the Namibia star recorded 13 assists and five goals in the PSL.
Meanwhile, Dzvukamanja enjoyed a good day out with a goal and an assist against Usuthu.
(5) Maritzburg United need to prove they won’t be relegation fodder again…
After surviving by the skin of their teeth last season via the relegation and promotion playoffs under coach Eric Tinkler – the Team of Choice won’t want to be drawn into another season of struggle.
With two of their best-attacking players in Fortune Makaringe and Siphesihle Ndlovu leaving for Orlando Pirates – new signings such as Daylon Claasen, Dan Morgan, Ndumiso Mabena, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Gabriel Nyoni and Kwanda Mngonyama will need to hit the ground running.
A 1-0 defeat to Golden Arrows won’t be a huge vote of confidence though in this contest Deolin Mekoa nearly levelled when he hit the post in 78th minute before Divine Lunga pulled off a stunning goal-line clearance from Nyoni at the death. With that said, it seems that the passionate fighting spirit that saw the Team of Choice come back from the dead in 2018/19 remains strong under Tinkler.