Top 10 Players to watch in the Premier Soccer League
South Africa's Premier Soccer League season will get underway on Saturday in what is a congested campaign that could see some clubs playing more than 50 games.
It will also provide players in the domestic competitions with the chance to enhance their reputations, and give those new to the league the opportunity to forge a cult following.
KweséESPN looks at 10 players sure to catch the eye in the new PSL campaign.
KHAMA BILLIAT (KAIZER CHIEFS)
Billiat is certainly no stranger to South African football fans after a successful, trophy-laden spell at Mamelodi Sundowns, but the Zimbabwe international faces a different challenge altogether after making the move to Naturena. Chiefs have not won a trophy in three years, and the expectation is that Billiat will be the one to lead their blunt attack to silverware. Desperate Amakhosi supporters are running out of patience with the team and Billiat will know all too well how quickly you can turn from hero to zero in this league.
TALENT CHAWAPIWA (BAROKA FC)
Zimbabwean winger Chawapiwa was a revelation at Baroka FC last season, and it is a surprise to many that he was not poached by a bigger club. Talk of a move to Chiefs never materialised as he was priced out of that deal, so for now he is left to try and help Baroka achieve their top eight ambitions. He is certainly a player with plenty to offer and has the potential to be a star of the season.
BRILLIANT KHUZWAYO (ORLANDO PIRATES)
After years as an understudy to Itumeleng Khune at Chiefs, Khuzwayo has crossed the floor to join archrivals Pirates, where he is tasked with bringing some stability to what has been a problem position for the club in recent years. The internet provides a host of Pirates goalkeeper howlers, but in Khuzwayo they are getting a more 'steady Eddy' type who rarely makes a mistake. When he did deputise for Khune he provided mostly faultless performances, and this could arguably be the biggest signing of the last few years for The Buccaneers.
JOSE ALI MEZA (MAMELODI SUNDOWNS)
If reports out of South America are to be believed then Sundowns paid a South African record R13-million for Meza, a Venezuelan forward who was plying his trade in Bolivia. With Billiat and Percy Tau having left Chloorkop, Meza -- once he gains full fitness -- will be expected to provide goals after a long pursuit by Sundowns that lasted a year. He certainly looks to have all the attributes and, if he can settle into the pace of the league, will be a great addition.
MOTHOBI MVALA (HIGHLANDS PARK)
Mvala was wanted by a number of top-flight teams when Highlands Park were relegated at the end of the 2016/17 season, but he remained with the Gauteng club and played a major role in them winning promotion at the first attempt. His 12 goals from midfield, many of them coming from his ability in the air, were a huge bonus and he will now seek to transform that quality into commanding performances in the top league. There is no reason why he could not be one of the stars of the campaign in a side that lacks stand-out individuals.
JOÃO MOREIRA (GOLDEN ARROWS)
Moreira is an experienced Portuguese forward with a good scoring record wherever he has been, though most of his career has been spent in New Zealand and Malta. Those are not high-profile leagues, but he has proven he can put the ball in the back of the net with 39 goals in 81 starts -- almost one every other game. Whether he can find the same conversion rate in the more physically demanding, tactical and quicker South African league remains to be seen, but he is certainly an interesting acquisition by Golden Arrows.
SIMON MURRAY (BIDVEST WITS)
Murray is another forward who has enjoyed a prolific time in Europe who must now test himself in the South African environment. Wits have been crying out for a clinical finisher as their play in the final third was almost comical at times last season with the number of glaring chances they missed. Murray arrives from Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, though he also spent part of last season on loan at Dundee. His record of 65 goals in 119 starts in Scottish football is a very good one, while last season he netted 17 in 39 starts. If he can be their 'missing link' upfront, they will most certainly be title challengers again this season.
AYANDA PATOSI (CAPE TOWN CITY)
Patosi has long been an enigma; a player of enormous ability who has been let down by an often less-than-professional attitude off the pitch. He had run-ins with City last season over his weight and skipping training but, by all accounts, has been a revelation in pre-season, more focused than ever before and perhaps ready to finally fulfill his rich potential. He can be the chief playmaker at City, driving them to challenge for the league this season. When he was in Belgium at Lokeren there was always the feeling that if he could get the off-field stuff right, he could easily play in one of the Europe's top-five leagues. Maybe City will benefit from that quality in the coming campaign.
GASTON SIRINO (MAMELODI SUNDOWNS)
Uruguayan Sirino joined Sundowns in January, but looked a little lost in his first few months as he battled to adjust to the pace of the PSL. But if his form in recent CAF Champions League and friendly matches is anything to go by, Sirino is starting to show his best and that will be a real treat for South African fans. Tricky on the ball, great vision, good pace and an eye for goal, if he can keep his performance levels high, he will be a very strong contender for Player of the Season as his quality is undisputed.
EMILIANO TADE (AMAZULU)
The Argentine forward has joined AmaZulu after seven seasons in New Zealand with Auckland City, where he was a goal-machine. The 30-year-old netted 93 goals in 108 starts in domestic league and international cup competitions for Auckland, which included an individual record seven appearances at the FIFA Club World Cup. Clearly he is a goal-poacher and those are rare in a South African context, so it will be fascinating to see how he goes at what is clearly a higher level than he has been playing previously.