Old Soweto enemies will face off on Saturday as the 2021/22 PSL season kicks off with the MTN8.
Orlando Pirates will host rivals Swallows at Orlando Stadium at 6pm.
The Buccaneers are the defending champions of the top-eight tournament and will be confident at home.
The Dube Birds, on the other hand, who finished sixth in the league last season to qualify for the competition, will be excited to get their first taste of the MTN8 competition in almost 10 years.
The last time they qualified for the competition was in the 2012/13 season after they finished second in the league the season before.
Since that campaign, the club struggled for a top-half finish until their eventual relegation in the 2014/15 season.
Swallows coach Brandon Truter said playing in the top eight was a challenge his side was looking forward to.
“I think we gave a good account of ourselves in our first season back in the premier league last season. It’s always good to start something with a big challenge, and that’s what we will get from Pirates,” Truter said.
“We go into each match with the mentality of wanting to win, and this one will be no different. It’s a knockout match, so there is no room for error.”
It is no surprise that Truter sounds confident, as the club made several signings in the transfer window.
They have brought in Given Thibedi, Yagan Sasman, Tebogo Langerman, Mwape Musonda, Dillon Solomon, Strydom Wambi, George Matlou, while Austin Muwowo and Monnapule Saleng are both on loan from Pirates.
The Bucs have been a bit frugal this season, with only four new signings – Goodman Mosele, Bandile Shandu, and Kwanda Mngonyama.
After winning the R8 million winner-takes-all cup, Pirates’ campaign last season took a nosedive.
They were affected by inconsistencies in the domestic league and obligations in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer admits that the fans will expect nothing less than a successful cup defence.
“It’s normal at a club like Pirates for fans to want to win every cup. It’s a derby, and it is important for us to win. We don’t want to think too far ahead in the tournament,” the German said.
“We will fight this season and do our best to win as much as possible. I am aware of the expectations from us as a team in the new season.”
MTN8 fixtures this weekend
- Golden Arrows vs SuperSport United, Princess Magogo Stadium (3pm)
- Orlando Pirates vs Swallows, Orlando Stadium (6pm)
- Mamelodi Sundowns vs Kaizer Chiefs, Lucas Moripe Stadium (3pm)