Both teams will renew their rivalry in a pre-season friendly this weekend, while a few new players could be unleashed by both sides on the day
Kaizer Chiefs have not played a pre-season match with Mamelodi Sundowns in a long time, but things willl be different this time around.
While this is just a friendly between the two heavyweights of South African football, both sets of players know that there’s a lot at stake, including pride and eagerness to impress ahead of the new season.
Both Amakhosi and the Brazilians have made a couple of new signings, and they will be expected to unleash them on the day.
Khama Billiat will get the chance to face his former club for the first time since leaving Chloorkop for Naturena a few weeks ago, while Pitso Mosimane could be tempted to play a second string side with the return leg of the Caf Champions League against AS Togo-Port on the horizon.
However, the likes of Andile Jali, Toni Silva and Jose Ali Meza among others may feature alongside Rivaldo Coetzee, who last kicked a ball over a year ago whilst at Ajax Cape Town.
It is still unclear if Giovanni Solinas will be on the Chiefs bench for this encounter as he awaits his work permit.
The former Free State Stars mentor joined the Soweto giants on a two-year deal last weekend, and if all goes according to plan, Amakhosi faithful could have a taste of how their team will play in the new campaign.
For Mosimane and his technical team, this match will afford them an opportunity to work on a few combinations, especially after going down in Togo this week.
Percy Tau’s absence was felt upfront, while Billiat’s departure left a huge void in the final third.
How they will cope without the two players against a team as motivated as Chiefs remains to be seen, but given Mosimane’s tactical ability and knowledge of the opponets, this may not be the biggest of headaches.
As things stand, both Chiefs and Sundowns are expected to start with the tried and tested. After all, no one wants to lose the game from the word go.
The likes of Itumeleng Khune, Willard Katsande and Siphiwe Tshabalala are likely to start for Chiefs with a couple of new faces probably making their way onto the pitch in the second half.
Billiat and Leonardo Castro did brilliantly as a pair last weekend, and Chiefs would pin their hopes on them in order to hurt the PSL champions.
Sundowns on the other hand, will undoubtedly look to wrestle this encounter away from Chiefs by packing their midfield with the trio of Jali, Hlompho Kekana and Oupa Manyisa.
Mosimane still has Tiyani Mabunda and Lucky Mohomi as two of his options if he doesn’t want to give everything away to his opponents for the new season.
Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi are the main men upfront for Sundowns, but Chiefs fans will be interested to see if their former star player, George Lebese, cracks the nod on his return to the Calabash.
Predicted Chiefs XI: Khune, Mphahlele, Zulu, Mathoho, Hadebe, Katsande, Ntshangase, Mahlasela, Tshabalala, Billiat, Castro.
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Predicted Sundowns XI: Onyango, Morena, Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, Kekana, Jali, Manyisa, Zwane, Sirino, Vilakazi.
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