Mamelodi Sundowns season preview

Overview: Mamelodi Sundowns appear set to challenge strongly in the race for the 2017/18 Premiership crown, after the arrival of Oupa Manyisa and George Lebese from Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs respectively. 

While the Brazilians were pipped to the post by eventual Premiership champions, Bidvest Wits, in 2016/17, adding proven reinforcements to the squad could only no doubt help towards ensure the workload is shared in the PSL, as well in the African Champions League. 

Also arriving is Ghana international goalkeeper, Razak Brimah, to add competition in the keeping department after Wayne Sandilands departure to Pirates. 

The Pitso Mosimane-coached outfit were narrowly beaten to the title in the last campaign by Wits, largely as a result of exertions in Africa that eventually saw them crowned the continent’s champions. As such, they have plenty to prove this time around to claim a title they last won with ease in 2015/16.

Players to watch: How both Lebese and Manyisa fair at Chloorkop is going to be something the football fraternity in South Africa will watch with interest. Both stars had seemingly gone stale at their respective former sides, with Lebese appearing unhappy at not being a regular under Steve Komphela, while Manyisa seemed heavily burdened by Pirates’ poor form. 

The pair saw playing time in the recent 1-0 MTN8 quarter-final loss to Maritzburg United, where there were clear signs the pair were playing with renewed vigour and self belief. However, on the flip side, the form of Khama Billiat may also fall under the microscope. The club confirmed the star forward wants to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires, meaning his performances may be impacted in the long run.    

New Signings: With veteran Teko Modise having left through the exit door to join Cape Town City, finding a natural central midfielder replacement was coach Pitso Mosimane’s priority. By landing Manyisa, he has a square peg for a square hole. In addition, Lebese has been earmarked by Mosimane to play in Keagan Dolly’s left wing position, after the 24-year-old moved to France in January. Brimah is also a like-for-like replacement for Sandilands in goal.