The 2021/2022 DSTV Premiership season promises to be one of the most exciting seasons in local football. All eyes will be on the title contenders, but mid-table teams have vowed to fight to finish in the top eight.
Newly promoted side Sekhukhune United have also promised to punch above their weight and remain in South Africa’s top-flight football.
Two unfancied sides from KwaZulu Natal did the unthinkable last season. Amazulu F.C matched defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns toe to toe until the final stages of the season. Usuthu ultimately finished as runners up in the league, which was their best-ever finish.
Their neighbours Golden Arrows were also in the picture for the most part of the season. Abafana Besithende ended up finishing in a credible fourth position. They are under pressure to repeat the heroics of last season, but now under a different coach.
“Pressure has become part of my DNA or any coach’s DNA because the pressure will always be there in football and we are not giving ourselves any pressure at the moment. We just want to make sure that we try and win as many games as possible so that we can finish in a respectable position,” says Lehlohonolo Seema, Golden Arrows coach.
Cape Town City who finished seventh last season believes they can achieve more. Their best-ever finish was third under coach Eric Tinkler, who is back at the team.
“They finished seventh last season, they’ve always finished in the top eight so that is a must. We need to finish in the top eight but we can’t rest on our laurels we got to be looking to better ourselves so we obviously looking to finish in the top four if we can do that,” says Eric Tinkler, Cape Town City coach.
TS Galaxy failed to finish in the top eight after they lost to Kaizer Chiefs in their final game of last season.
“There are big teams that have got big targets. So you can’t have small targets, you’ve got to have realistic approaches and all we want to do is to build a solid foundation so that in the next season or two, we can really compete on a very healthy basis,” says Owen Da Gama, TS Galaxy coach.
Baroka F.C were amongst the early pacesetters in the league campaign last season but ran out of steam as the season progressed.
“No coach can say we are going to fight for relegation. We are looking forward to finish in a good position, but for me, we need to improve from last season’s position which is number ten and maybe if we can be in the top eight, I think it will be a very good achievement for the team” says Matsemela Thoka, Baroka F.C coach.
Following a protracted legal battle between the Premier Soccer League and Royal AM, there was a lot of uncertainty for Sekhukhune United. But the Limpopo side ended up being crowned champions of last season’s Glad Africa Championship and gained automatic promotion into the elite league.
“When I came to the team they said we must be in the PSL after three seasons even now we don’t have any mandate. Our bosses just told us they want nothing to do with relegation. We must be in the top ten this season, try to be in the top eight,” says Mcdonald Makhubedu, Sekhukhune United coach.
After being crowned champions of the national first division two seasons ago, Stellenbosch FC has had it tough in the DSTV Premiership. Last season they finished third from the bottom.
“We all harbour ambitions of having a very successful season and we believe we are now sort of embedded ourselves in the DSTV Premiership. The first two seasons are never easy. We had a difficult season last year especially at the back end, but we found a way to retain our status and stay in the league,” says Steve Barker, Stellenbosch FC coach.
There will be another full round of DSTV Premiership fixtures midweek, followed by the first leg of the MTN-8 semi-finals next weekend. Then the league will be in recess for a week due to the FIFA international break.