DStv Prem Preview: Stellenbosch FC

The curtain opens on another exciting DStv Premiership season this weekend, with Orlando Pirates kicking off their 2023/24 campaign with a trip to the Cape Winelands, where they will be taking on Stellenbosch at Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday night.

Following weeks of tactical fine-tuning across the respective Clubs, the football-loving public can finally look ahead to some competitive action as league football kicks off what promises to be a testing 10 months of non-stop football.

Overview

Both teams reached significant landmarks in the 2022/23 season, with the Buccaneers finishing second in the league to qualify for the CAF Champions League, while Stellies ensured their participation in the MTN 8 via a sixth-place finish.

It was an especially successful campaign for the Soweto Giants, who bagged two of the three available trophies in the domestic game, and could be up for a further two with their return to continental football, as well as the launch of the Carling Cup, which is scheduled to kick off in October.

Pirates displayed encouraging signs during their pre-season preparations, which took them as far as Spain, where they took on top sides from different parts of the world.

With a total of six Club Friendlies played since the conclusion of the 2022/23 campaign, Jose Riveiro’s troops went unbeaten in the off-season, winning four times and drawing two games.

They will be hoping to take that form into the league, where they will be meeting a different proposition in the men from the Winelands.

Stellenbosch have encountered capable opposition in their pre-season preparations, taking on the University of the Western Cape, as well as newly-promoted top-flight outfit Cape Town Spurs in a double header.

After finishing the previous season with an impressive run of league results they will be hoping for a strong start this time around as they look to claim a big scalp to set the tone for the rest of their campaign.

Team News 

Pirates and Stellenbosch have both witnessed some activity in the transfer market, and some of the new faces at either camp could be making their competitive debuts on Saturday night.

Patrick Maswanganyi, Katlego Otladisa and Melusi Buthelezi are among the new arrivals at the Buccaneers, and all featured in the Friendly matches played in the build-up to the opening league fixture, while Azola Matrose is among those returning from loan.

Stellenbosch have also brought in a few new faces in the off-season, with a total of 10 signings confirmed by the Club to date.

This is along with some notable departures in the likes of Junior Mendieta and Olwethu Makhanya, who were key in helping the club secure a top-eight finish.

Key Players

Monnapule Saleng (Orlando Pirates): After a dream season where he walked off with key accolades, including being named the Players’ Player of the Season, Saleng will be determined to prove that his heroics in the 2022/23 campaign were not a one-off thing. The winger finished the season with 15 goals and 11 assists in his 30 appearances in all competitions, thanks to his high attacking workrate and accurate left foot among other qualities which have made him one of the standout players in South African football.

Iqraam Rayners (Stellenbosch): The striker experienced a resurgence on his return to Stellenbosch, netting an impressive 15 goals across competitions in the second half of the previous campaign. Rayners’ pace and eye for goal make him a tough proposition, and the player will be eager to get off the blocks early in the season this time around.

Head-to-Head 

Pirates’ last visit to Stellenbosch yielded a point apiece for the two sides after Nkosinathi Sibisi’s first-half goal was cancelled out early in the second half by Junior Mendieta.

The Buccaneers did however manage to secure maximum points later in the season with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Orlando Stadium, where Thabang Monare, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Kermit Erasmus and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo all got on the scoresheet.

They remain the more dominant side in the short rivalry between these two outfits, with three wins in eight league meetings, while Stellies boast just one win over the Soweto Giants, which was claimed during their first season in the top flight.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Stellenbosch FC 

The game is scheduled to kick-off at 20:00, and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL. Live updates will also be provided throughout the fixture across all Orlando Pirates social media platforms, including the Club’s official app.

 

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