Most people were surprised when DStv’s Premier League matches were released for the upcoming 2022/23 campaign as there will be a celebration of games during the holiday season.
This will be the first time the league hasn’t gone on hiatus at the end of the year since the 2022 FIFA World Cup midseason in Qatar put a stop to work.
The global spectacle will run from November 14 to December 18.
The Mamelodi Sundowns will resume against the Orlando Pirates on New Year’s Eve at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena is also among those who didn’t expect to see any matches at the end of the year and early January. At the same time, he welcomed the schedule change.
“This has never happened before in South African football, but the reality is that it is done in most parts of the world,” said Mokwena, who anticipates a difficult encounter with the Sea Robbers.
However, reigning Premier League champions DStv have the Pirates in their pocket as they have won all of their last five encounters with the Pirates, losing only twice in their last 10 encounters.
“In England they play during the festive period. This is something we are looking forward to and hopefully we can get everything right in terms of how we prepare for this match.
“It will be difficult because we are expecting a stronger Pirates this season but we will see how things play out and hopefully we are ready for this game. There will be a lot of fireworks this season,” added Mokwena.
Meanwhile, the Downs are looking to secure one last contract before the new season as they are still looking to replace Ricardo Nascimento.
“We have lost a very important player in Ricardo and we feel we are not very protected in this space. Last season Devine Lunga played as a left centre-back and it is always important to have a left-footed centre-back to give you balance and move the ball from the left flank,” Mokwena said.
He added: “Most strikers are right-handed, but if you have a left-hander, it will be a little easier for you.”