PLK City, Baroka in derby showdown

Polokwane City and Baroka FC will open their league campaign with a highly anticipated derby clash at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm.

Rise and Shine recorded their best top-flight season to date last term - despite parting ways with Luc Eymael in what proved to be a bitter divorce - the club marshalled on to record an impressive sixth placed finish.

Bernard Molekwa has been intrusted with taking over the reins and he will be hoping that the club will continue fighting above their weight-class in the new season.

As for neighbours Baroka, their first season in the Absa Premiership did not go as planned with the club booking their place in the top-flight for another season following a three-way PSL promotion/relegation playoff win over Stellenbosch FC and Black Leopards.

Kgoloko Thobejane looks set to start the season on the bench having played musical chairs with the position throughout the course of the previous campaign. Bakgaga have significantly strengthened their squad in the off-season and have also welcomed Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo as the club’s Technical Director.

Polokwane and Baroka have met in just two previous league matches, both of which took place last season. The teams drew 2-2 in the first half of the campaign (the home match for Baroka), while the return game (in which City were hosts) ended in a goalless stalemate.



Season Result Scorers

2016/17 Baroka 2-2 Polokwane Munetsi, Lietsisa; Ramagalela, Tlolane

2016/17 Polokwane 0-0 Baroka

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2016/17)



Polokwane 1 0 1 0 0 0

Baroka 1 0 1 0 2 2



Polokwane 1 0 1 0 2 2

Baroka 1 0 1 0 0 0



Polokwane 2 0 2 0 2 2

Baroka 2 0 2 0 2 2

What the teams are saying:

Polokwane City head coach Bernard Molekwa:

"I can't say I'm happy, but we can still build from our performance [against Cape Town City in the MTN8].

"We gave it our all but unfortunately it was not our day. If not an own goal the result could have gone the other way, we both had chances.

"Overall I think we can still build and improve ahead of our first game in the league against Baroka.

"We will be ready for Baroka, come Saturday we will be the winners of this Limpopo Derby and show 'Bosso Ke Mang'"

Baroka FC head coach Kgoloko Thobejane:

"It's 11 versus 11, we are going for a win.

"This season I've only got geniuses in my squad. Even myself I don't know yet which player is going to feature for Baroka on Saturday. It's not obvious here, I have a good headache when it comes to team selection.

Key Players for Polokwane City:

The experienced trio of Jabulani Maluleke, Rodney Ramagalela and Thabiso Semenya will be key to Rise and Shine’s success once more this season with the latter having played every minute of the 2016-17 Absa Premiership season.

Maluleke has emerged as the creative force that drives Polokwane City with the hard-running Ramagalela flourishing back in his home province. Molekwa will be relying on the three’s know-how to guide them past a Bakgaga team that lacks stability.

Key Players for Baroka FC

Baroka have recruited heavily once more, but on the surface it looks as if the Limpopo side have done a better job in the transfer market this time around.

The attacking trio of Lucky Nguzana, Lewis Macha and Robin Ngalande could prove a coup for the club, if Thobejane can find a way for them to work as a unit. Jose Garcia’s absence, though, will be missed with the winger ruled out of the clash with a knee injury.

Furthermore, the hard-tackling Letladi Madubanya will be key in trying to tame City’s Maluleke with his experience in the middle of the park vital to Baroka’s success.