Kaizer Chiefs take on Royal AM in their opening league game of the 2022-23 PSL season at Chartsworth Stadium on Saturday evening.
Kick-off is at 17:30.
The encounter is certainly a chance for both teams to unleash their new signings, and all eyes will be on Chiefs and Arthur Zwane on the day.
Zwane begins his era as head coach of Chiefs; his first major coaching gig since his retirement from playing over a decade ago.
The 48-year-old mentor has brought in no fewer than eight new players, including Mduduzi Shabalala who was promoted from the club’s Diski Challenge team.
And knowing how difficult it is to beat Royal AM, Zwane surely has a plan to try and stop them, and he’s likely to go with different playing personnel this time around.
Now, by the look of things, only five players stand a good chance of starting against Royal AM, with the other three likely to start on the bench or be out in the stands.
Kamohelo Mahlatsi recently returned from injury, and didn’t spend enough time with his new Chiefs teammates during pre-season.
George Matlou is another player likely to be left out of the starting line-up – Zwane’s decision to allow him to feature for Bafana Bafana against Comoros could mean the midfielder isn’t yet ready to feature for Chiefs.
Lastly, Shabalala‘s promotion to the first team comes with terms and conditions – the young attacker is still at school, and Chiefs intend to slowly introduce him to topflight football.
Now, that leaves Zwane with five strong options for the encounter against Royal AM, and The South African website takes a look at those players.
FIVE OF EIGHT KAIZER CHIEFS NEW SIGNINGS THAT ARE LIKELY TO START AGAINST ROYAL AM
DILLAN SOLOMONS – RIGHT-BACK
Solomons was recently signed from Swallows FC but with Chiefs having released Ramahlwe Mphahlele, this leaves Zwane with Reeve Frosler and utility player Njabulo Blom.
But then again, Chiefs are short of options on the left-back position as S’fiso Hlanti and Sibusiso Mabiliso are out injured, and this could see Frosler moved to the left and Solomons slotted in at right-back.
ZITHA KWINIKA – CENTRE-BACK
Kwinika is an obvious choice for the centre-back role that was dominated by Erick Mathoho and Daniel Cardoso for years at Chiefs.
With Cardoso gone, Kwinika is expected to start alongside either Njabulo Ngcobo, Thabani Dube or Mathoho but Zwane may opt to leave the former Bloemfontein Celtic out.
YUSUF MAART – CENTRAL MIDFIELDER
Phathutshedzo Nange is suspended for this match against Royal AM, but his absence is of no concern as Chiefs have enough depth in that department.
Yusuf Maart is expected to change Kaizer Chiefs’ midfield shape. Image: @KaizerChiefs/ Twitter
Maart can play as a 6, 8 and 10, and Zwane can easily play a double-six with the Bafana Bafana international partnering either Blom or Cole Alexander.
SIYETHEMBA SITHEBE – ATTACKING MIDFIELDER
This is the one position Amakhosi struggled to fill after George Maluleka’s departure to Mamelodi Sundowns, and Sithebe offers just that.
And while he may not have featured for AmaZulu in the second half of last season, Chiefs know exactly what Sithebe can offer and the match against Royal AM could be his biggest break.
ASHLEY DU PREEZ – FORWARD
Du Preez’s name will be the first when Zwane drafts his starting line-up to face Shauwn Mkhize’s club in Durban on Saturday.
This is because he’s the only trusted out-and-out striker in the current Chiefs team, and how he performs on the day will give Zwane an idea on the type of strikers he should bring in before the transfer window slams shut in September.