Showtime in new SA soccer season

Thu 15 Oct by Mark Gleeson


It’s showtime in the new soccer season in South African tomorrow, when new boys Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila take on SuperSport United in the MTN8.This game in the extreme north of the county offers some trepidation for MTN8 holders SuperSport. They meet a team who are still being assembled and look to be in disarray, but they are an unknown quantity and could pack a dangerous punch, particularly at home in Thohoyandou.The clash is one of the games TAB soccer fans can choose in the weekend’s carryover Soccer Any-15 pool, which starts with a R100,000 add-in.There’s also a R50,000 carryover to the Soccer 13 Xtra pool, which should result in a total pool of some R200,000.But the big excitement of the weekend is a R1-million guaranteed pool for MegaStrike 10. This is the newest member of TAB’s soccer stable and it’s similar to Soccer 10, except you have to forecast whether each of 10 players will score no goals, one goal or two goals or more.Let’s get back to the opening match in the new season. TTM’s preparations since buying the Bidvest Wits franchise have been chaotic. The announcement of a new coach has twice been postponed this week and players are still being signed after weeks of trials in Pretoria.It is hardly a textbook preparation and suggests their tenure in the top flight of South Africa football might be brief, but SuperSport are wary of what awaits them.Coach Kaitano Tembo said that TTM players are still auditioning and therefore will be super motivated, but the chaos could make it all too easy for SuperSport.That match will be followed quickly by the second MTN8 quarter-final at 6pm tomorrow, when Orlando Pirates are at home to Cape Town City.Pirates have again been active in the transfer market. Before the start of last season they were the most prolific purchaser of players and looked to have craftily strengthened their squad. But in the end they made little impact.They have added new players to their squad once again and will have high expectations once more, which heaps early pressure on German coach Joe Zinnbauer to deliver results.The big question awaiting an answer is whether the new trio of coaches at Mamelodi Sundowns will be able to maintain the Pitso Mosimane legacy. Manqoba Mngqithi is co-coach with Rhulani Mokoena, but has the final say. Then Steve Komphela was brought in this week as their assistant but with the title of senior coach. There is an old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth”, but Sundowns should get past Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.The day’s other match is Maritzburg United away at Kaizer Chiefs in a potentially nightmare debut for AmaKhosi’s new coach Gavin Hunt.New coaches at Chiefs have a poor record in their first game in charge and Hunt will be hoping that history does not repeat itself again.