Usuthu target victory in PSL return

AmaZulu FC are set to welcome Free State Stars in their maiden 2017/18 Absa Premiership match which will be played at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Kick-off is at 15h00 CAT.

Usuthu are back in the top flight league after purchasing Thanda Royal Zulu’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) status prior to the new campaign.

This was after the Durban-based outfit missed out on last season’s PSL Promotion/Relegation play-offs as the club finished fifth on the National First Division (NFD) standings.

Usuthu have been active in the Transfer Window – beefing up their squad. The club has signed Boalefa Pule and Michael Morton from SuperSport United, and Ayabulela Konqobe from Thanda amongst others.

Experienced local trainer Cavin Johnson has replaced Zimbabwean tactician Joey Antipas – as the new AmaZulu head coach ahead of the club’s highly anticipated return to the elite league.

Johnson, who guided Platinum Stars to the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup group stage, will be looking to mastermind a victory over Stars in his first official match in charge of Usuthu.

Meanwhile, Stars endured a disappointing 2016/17 PSL season which saw the Bethlehem-based side survive relegation to the NFD on the last day of a gruelling campaign.

Ea Lla Koto finished 14th on the Absa Premiership standings with 28 points from 30 matches. They were only above the relegation play-off spot on goal-difference.

Ivorian goalkeeper Bandra Ali Sangare, former Orlando Pirates midfielder Sello Jaftha and Rwandan shot-stopper Kwizer Olivera are some of the players who have been signed by Stars.

Sammy Troughton has been appointed new Stars head coach ahead of the new campaign – replacing Serame Letsoaka, who parted ways with Ea Lla Koto two months ago.

Former University of Pretoria head coach Troughton, who was in charge of NFD club Stellenbosch FC last season, will be keen to ensure that Stars get their 2017/18 season off to a winning start.

The last time AmaZulu and Stars locked horns in an Absa Premiership match was in April, 2015. The game was played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Mbulelo Mabizela’s second-half goal inspired Usuthu to a 1-0 home victory over Ea Lla Koto.