City Press predictions point to Sundowns as favourites for the league title

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Sundowns’ domination is somewhat aided by their once mighty Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who are about coaching changes and rebuilding processes most of the time. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Sundowns’ domination is somewhat aided by their once mighty Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who are about coaching changes and rebuilding processes most of the time. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

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The new DStv Premiership is already upon us and Friday night marks the beginning of the 30-game marathon.

As usual, there are going to be twists, turns and more twists along the way as nothing is assured in football.

City Press football fanatics put their heads on the block by predicting who will finish where.

With most of the clubs deciding to conduct their preseason behind closed doors, it is rather difficult to know what exactly they have been up to, except to do it based on their pedigree and their movement on the transfer market.

Here are our predictions:

Timothy Molobi

Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns

They might not have been as aggressive as they always are in the transfer market, but the Brazilians are still a team to beat. The question is always why fix it if it ain’t broken? So, there was no need to raid the market this time around, as they had already prepared for this season long before the previous one finished. The arrival of Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is just an additional luxury that they could do without. But the Bafana captain will solidify their last line of defence. I don’t see any side standing in Sundowns’ way of claiming their sixth successive championship. Did I say six? Well, it is what it is and they will easily march to their 13th title overall.

Relegation: Marumo Gallants

It is a tough call to make but one of Swallows, Chippa United, Richards Bay and Marumo Gallants will automatically go down. After dicing with relegation death for so long last season, Swallows have not done enough on the transfer market to bolster their squad, and this could be their undoing. The same goes for Gallants, who will be distracted by their participation in the CAF Confederation Cup – again – after finishing second to Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup. They have a far too thin squad to compete on all fronts and I don’t see them going all the way. The jury is also out on Daine Klate’s Chilly Boys who have always been relegation candidates. But, they might just do it with a whisker again. Richards Bay will have to hit the ground running and swim with the sharks. With the players who are hungry for success and who are eager to impress, this might just be the motivation they need to survive the first season in the elite league.

READ: Tim Spirit | Men’s football can learn a thing or two from Wafcon

Mondli Makhanya

Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns

Yes, it has become boring but unless someone steps up a gear, you cannot blame Mamelodi Sundowns for having a winning formula. By now, you would expect the traditional top six teams and particularly the two Soweto giants to have figured out a way to stop the Sundowns juggernaut. If Leicester City could outfox the world’s most resourced sides in the 2015/16 season, then surely South Africa’s top sides – again, especially the well-sponsored Soweto giants – can find a way of matching the Motsepe lucre on the field of play.

Relegation: Chippa United

The gods have been good, Chippa Mpengesi, with all the instability he creates through guillotining coaches at the slightest provocation. This is the season that his ways will catch up with him and it will not be the fault of any of the three or more coaches who will be hired and fired this term.

Rapule Tabane

Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns

This is an annoying prediction to make because our local football deserves more than this routine, going through the motions of the PSL season. But at this point, none of the teams is solid enough to topple Mamelodi Sundowns as the Multichoice PSL champions. I actually expect Sundowns to struggle a bit this season given how compact the season is at a time when they will be doing more travels for their CAF champions league assignments. The air of invincibility that allowed them to win the treble last season is probably a thing of the past for many reasons. But on the league side, I expect that they will still benefit from the weaknesses of their competitors and do enough to clinch it again.

Relegation: Richards Bay

The relegation battle is never easy to predict because teams that are struggling mid-season do effect drastic changes, sometimes bringing in quality coaches and players and thereby changing their fortunes altogether. So, a team that might look like relegation candidates now might be a completely changed and better one by March next year. However, as it stands now I see nothing stopping the Natal Rich Boyz from going back straight to the first division, formally called Motsepe League, but colloquially known as Mvela. Having struggled for so many seasons to break into the PSL, one wishes them better luck and a longer stay. In my opinion, only a drastic overhaul can save them. For now, they are my relegation candidates.

Daniel Mothowagae

Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns

Can anyone stop Mamelodi Sundowns from lifting yet another league title? I don’t think so. With so much depth across all departments - three players for each position - and a huge budget to afford talent from outside, we are bound to see that familiar headline again: “The title is for Downs to lose”.

Sundowns’ domination is somewhat aided by their once mighty Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who are about coaching changes and rebuilding processes most of the time.

READ: Inside Ronwen Williams’ eight figure move to Sundowns

Relegation: Maritzburg United

Not since five seasons ago, gone are the days when the newcomers used to be the obvious candidates for the chop. So, Richards Bay have a chance to survive by virtue of being a “closed book”. I expect Chippa United and Maritzburg United to flirt with relegation again, and Maritzburg are more likely to go down this time.

DStv Premiership fixtures this weekend


Friday

Cape Town City vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, 7.30pm)

Saturday

Orlando Pirates vs Swallows (Orlando Stadium, 3pm)

Marumo Gallants vs Stellenbosch (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3pm)

Golden Arrows vs Richards Bay (Princess Magogo Stadium, 3pm)

Royal AM vs Kaizer Chiefs (Chatsworth Stadium, 5.30pm)

Maritzburg United vs Sekhukhune United (Harry Gwala Stadium, 8pm)

Sunday

TS Galaxy vs AmaZulu (Bidvest Stadium, 3pm)

SuperSport United vs Chippa United (Lucas Moripe Stadium, 5.30pm).



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