Reports & Previews

Black Leopards v Polokwane City

Black Leopards and Polokwane City will both look to get off to a winning start when they clash on the opening weekend of the new Absa Premership season.

Both teams have changed coaches in the off-season, with Leopards replacing the outgoing Dylan Kerr with Lionel Soccoia, while Polokwane welcome Zlatko Krmpotic after the resignation of Jozef Vukusic.

For Leopards, Mlungisi Ngubane has also assumed the position of team manager, while Patrick Mabedi will serve as assistant to Soccoia.

Speaking of the changes, club boss David Thidiela said: "I am doing all this for the Black Leopards supporters.

"These people brave all kinds of weather conditions to come and support this club. I don't want to see them crying, I want to see them happy."

Both Soccoia and Krmpotic are seasoned journeymen who have plied their trades across Africa and Europe, but it remains to be seen what their immediate impact will be at their new clubs.

Outgoing coach Kerr helped Leopards avoid relegation with a crucial 1-0 win over Cape Town City in the last game of the season, while Polokwane finished mid-table despite losing three of their last four games.

Meanwhile, Polokwane have bolstered their ranks with the acquisition of new goalkeeper Cyril Chibwe from Jomo Cosmos, while Lehlohonolo Nhlapo, Themba Chauke and Mondli Miya all return from loan deals.

They'll have to do without the services of striker Rodney Ramagalela, however, who joined Highlands Park on a free transfer.

As for Leopards, they welcome left-back Thabo Matlaba on a free transfer from Orlando Pirates, as well as attacking midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele from Mamelodi Sundowns.

Thuso Phala is another new addition after being released by SuperSport United for disciplinary reasons.

The likes of right-back Marks Munyai, centre-forward Ivan Mahangwahaya and midfield duo Lehlogonolo Masalesa and Phathutshedzo Nange have all moved on to new pastures.