DStv Premiership returns — some key takeaways from SA’s top-flight football league

After a two-month hiatus, South Africa’s top-flight football league, the DStv Premiership, made its much anticipated return.
While there were some shock outcomes as the DStv Premiership kicked off this past weekend, perennial league winners Mamelodi Sundowns underlined their status as the best football team in the country by beating Cape Town City.
The most notable weekend result was Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-0 loss to Royal AM — who are in their sophomore season in the Premiership. Meanwhile, in the first KwaZulu-Natal derby of the season, new kids on the block Richards Bay stunned seasoned campaigners Golden Arrows 2-0 in KwaMashu, Durban.
But there were no surprises when defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns hit the ground running with a comfortable 2-0 win over last season’s runners-up City.
Left-back Aubrey Modiba registered an early goal of the season contender with a cracking free kick, with veteran Themba Zwane ensuring the three points just two minutes after Modiba’s belter.
In Soweto, Spanish coach Jose Riveiro launched his tenure as the new Orlando Pirates leader with a 1-0 win over Swallows. New striker Bienvenu Eva Nga, signed from Chippa United, scored the key goal that clinched victory for the Bucs in the original Soweto derby.
Elsewhere, last season’s surprise side Stellenbosch, who ended the 2021/2022 campaign in fourth place, were held to a nil-all stalemate by Marumo Gallants. TS Galaxy and AmaZulu recorded the same result in their clash, while Maritzburg United and Sekhukhune United could also not be separated — playing to a 1-1 draw.
Plethora of goalkeepers
There were eyebrows raised when Bafana Bafana’s first-choice goalkeeper Ronwen Williams agreed to join undisputed South African champions Sundowns in the off season — ending his 12-year stay at SuperSport United.
Questions surfaced on how his move to Matsatsantsa’s Tshwane neighbours — who already boast three high-quality goalkeepers in Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene and Reyaad Pieterse — would affect the national team.
However, following his assured display on debut against the Citizens, complemented by a clean sheet, Williams is likely to be granted sufficient game time at Masandawana. Though he will not play every game as he did for SuperSport.
“With Ronwen the decision was to try and induct him as quickly as possible, the road ahead is a little bit rough and the competition in that space is still going to be rough,” Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi explained on Williams being thrown straight into the thick of things.
“But it’s always better when he’s going to be ...