Baroka FC v Cape Town City
Cape Town City will be looking to get their title challenge underway when they meet Baroka at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.
Citizens coach Benni McCarthy has recently said that he is over his trial and error period and wants to start winning titles, with the league the ultimate goal.
“I don’t want to learn no more. I must put the learning [from the past two seasons] into acing the exam, so I want to go and win the league now,” McCarthy told SABC Radio.
“I think we should be ready to go and fight and compete for those accolades – winning the league and that.
“And, with younger players, you can’t … You’ll get away with it maybe in one or two games, but games like the Baroka’s away, you need your experienced squad and to be solid. So, if I could add another decent centre-back to the mix, I would be fine.”
McCarthy is not exaggerating when he says there are problems in the central defensive position. Taariq Fielies has been ruled out for six months after a botched appendix surgery at a Cape Town state hospital, while Kouadja Kouassi is also injured, which leaves Keanu Cupido as the only recognised centre-back in the squad.
This means that the Citizens tactician will probably deploy Edmilson Dove at the heart of the defence or call on Belgian under-21 international Keith Groeneveld, whom City signed from Standard Liege in April, but he is still only 19 and vastly inexperienced.
City have significantly strengthened their squad in the transfer window with the acquisitions of Abbubaker Mobara, Tashreeq Morris and Mpho Makola, while Mpho Matsi, Ayanda Patosi, Allan Katerrega and Judas Moseamedi have returned from loan.
Baroka will be looking to avoid getting themselves in to a relegation scrap this season after narrowly avoiding the drop last time out. They have done the work in the transfer market, bringing in Gerald Phiri Jr, Denwin Farmer, Mfafanuthi Shozi, Richard Mbulu, Sbonelo Ngubane, Kulegani Madondo, Manuel Kambala, Kamogelo Mogaswa and Lloyd Junior Kazapua.
Baroka FC chairman Khurishi Mphahlele has given head coach Wedson Nyirenda the mandate of winning the league, given the signings he has made.
“I have given him (Nyirenda) what he wanted with regards to players and he must give me what I want.
"He knows very well that I want the league‚” said Mphahlele.