A clash of big-spending newcomers is on the cards at the Thohoyandou Stadium this afternoon, when Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) take on TS Galaxy.
These are two teams whose owners flashed the cash to buy their way into the DStv Premiership.
TTM is in the premier division after buying the status of Bidvest Wits, while Galaxy bought out Highlands Park.
Combined, the clubs spent at least R100 million to get the lucrative top-league status, according to information gathered by City Press, with the going rate for clubs at between R50 million and R60 million.
Former Mpumalanga Black Aces co-owner Mario Morfou said the football fraternity could expect to see more clubs sold in future.
“It’s really hard running a football club and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more owners opting to sell, rather than continue bleeding cash,” said Morfou, who sold Aces to Cape Town City owner John Comitis in 2016.
“At the end of the day, it’s business – and neither the PSL nor any other organisation can tell an owner what to do with their business. Right now, there are tough trading conditions for owners of football clubs.”
Following their false start last week, TTM will hope to avoid another embarrassing fiasco when they kick-start their league campaign. The shockingly disorganised club from Venda made laughing stocks of themselves in their debut game in the top flight.
They did not have enough registered players for their MTN8 game against SuperSport United and ended up playing with only three substitutes on the bench. They lost 3-2.
TTM coach Joel Masutha said the club had since fixed their mistakes and would be ready for their opening league game.
“As a club, we felt it was only right to apologise for the oversight. We had some administrative and registration issues with players. I’ve moved on from there and have worked hard to ensure the team’s ready for the next game,” he said.
“You need to understand that we’ve had only a short period in which to prepare the team. I joined three weeks ago and have been trying my best to make sure we’re ready. It’s our first season in the premier league and there’s a lot of work that lies ahead of us.”
TTM were also left with egg on their faces after announcing the signing of Zambian striker Augustine Mulenga – only for the player to be unveiled by AmaZulu.
However, the club finalised the signing of Alfred Ndengane, Diamond Thopola and Ndivhuwo Ravhuhali.
By contrast, their fellow rookies and opponents from Mpumalanga, Galaxy, have not experienced similar problems, with the club appearing to have its house in order.
Unlike TTM owner Masala Mulaudzi, who does not actively run his club, Galaxy have a hands-on boss in former player agent Tim Sukazi.
Their coach, Dan Malesela, has been yearning to coach in the premiership again after leaving Chippa United two seasons ago.
The Mabopane-born tactician is eager to show his coaching talent once more with the club he led to Nedbank Cup triumph two seasons ago.
“We’re looking forward to this great challenge of being counted among the competitive teams in the premier league. It won’t be easy, but we have good organisation and we know where we want to take the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, in another game, newcomers Swallows FC will travel to Cape Town for a date with Stellenbosch at the Danie Craven Stadium.