New PSL season: Polokwane City always have surprises up their sleeve

02 August 2019 - 10:13 By Mark Gleeson
Polokwane City players celebrates after winning a penalty shootout.
Polokwane City players celebrates after winning a penalty shootout.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Polokwane City confounded the experts with the club’s best Absa Premiership finish last season despite an undercurrent of dissatisfaction.

But will a change of coach prove their undoing this time round?

Prospects:

Last season’s fifth-place finish for ‘Rise and Shine’ was a new benchmark for the club but no sooner had they completed celebrating than coach Jozef Vukusic walked out on the club.

There were threats to force him back but Bernard Molekwa has returned to the hot seat he vacated when the Slovak first arrived this time last year and must now pick up the baton‚ but with limited resources and constant managerial pressure.

It remains to be seen how many changes Molekwa makes to the way City approached the last campaign.

Personnel:

City have been the quietest in the marketplace in the off-season‚ reflective of their tight budget.

Joining the team are goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe from Jomo Cosmos‚ burly midfielder Eden Nene from Black leopards and Sibusiso Hlubi from relegated Free State Stars.

Rodney Ramagalela has already been out since January but now officially also off the books as he starts the new season in the colours of Highlands Park.

Playing style:

Vukusic’s success was all based on counterattacking football and City proved very dangerous at the tactic as they quickly leapt onto the front foot‚ propelled by the passing ability of Jabu Maluleke.

Now City might offer some different options.

One key element of their play is also proficiency at set pieces. Maluleke’s influence is very important‚ so a big question is what his 37-year-old legs can offer them this season. He surely will not be able to play all the games.

Programme:

A derby trip to Black Leopards is a tough start to the campaign. It was exactly the same on the opening weekend last season but then Leopards were forced to host their home game in Polokwane instead of Thohoyandou‚ but still won.

City then have home matches against AmaZulu and Bidvest Wits before going on the road to face Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs. In the MTN8 they will be away at Cape Town City.

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