After a successful campaign last season and scooping most of the PSL Awards on Thursday evening, Mamelodi Sundowns have set their sights on continuing with the momentum into the new campaign.
Themba Zwane was the biggest winner, taking three major awards which included, midfielder of the season, players player of the season and footballer of the season accolades. In total Sundowns collected sevens awards.
The other winners from the club were former coach, Pitso Mosimane, who walked away with coach of the season, Gatson Sirino was voted Telkom Player of the tournament, Keletso Makgalwa was the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player, while captain Hlompho Kekana’s goal against Cape Town City was Goal of the Season.
Sundowns will look at the timing of the awards as almost perfect ahead of their opening fixture against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
They will draw their strength from the overall achievements heading into one of their biggest matches of the season.
Kekana is confident that despite the large group of newly signed players at the club, not much should change as the bulk of the players and technical team are still with the system.
“Obviously it comes with pressure because we have to continue where coach Pitso left, but more than anything I think 90 percent of the players were here for seven years so it’s not something we are starting from scratch, we just have to try and continue with the good run last season and the season before and I believe we have players that can help us in that regard.”
Sundowns face a Chiefs side that has been refreshed by the arrival of former Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt, but still licking their wounds from the pain of losing the league title on the last day of the season.
Kekana is expecting an emotional encounter against one of their biggest rivals.
“It’s going to be a match of lots of emotions on their side obviously because they lost the league after a successful campaign last season and scooping most of the PSL Awards on Thursday evening, Mamelodi Sundowns have set their sights on continuing with the momentum into the new campaign. The last day of the season for us we will try and do the business because more than anything we were fortunate to win the league in that manner that we did, says Sundowns captain, Hlompho Kekana.
Orlando Pirates, who complete the big three, are in action this weekend against an AmaZulu club that was recently bought by new owners.
Last season the Soweto giants didn’t have the best of starts to their campaign and they go into the fixture eager to rectify their previous mistake.
Forward Vincent Pule emphasised the importance of starting the season on a high.
“Getting three points in the first game is very vital, the mood will be very high and to start the season well gives you extra motivation to compete for the league as well.”
Fans will not only witness the start of the new DSTV Premier League, but also entry of three new clubs. Promoted Swallows FC face Stellenbosch, while TTM and TS Galaxy tackle each other in their first appearance in the elite league on Sunday.