It's PSL kickoff this weekend and the battle for the title is on.
If you think about it, it actually started a couple of weeks ago when Cape Town City boss Benni McCarthy said that he wants the crown this season.
But the time for talk is over and when the whistle blows on Saturday, putting the ball in the back of the net is all that counts.
Pitso Mosimane’s PSL champions will start the season as heavy favourites to defend their title and scoop a hattrick of crowns to underline their dominance.
With the South African transfer window open until the end of August, landing the potential return of talisman Khama Billiat from an ill-judged move to Kaizer Chiefs would certainly end the argument.
But even without Billiat, Downs should still be strong enough to take the title as they did last season.
Pitso has built a machine over the last two seasons and even after losing Billiat and Percy Tau, he found a way to keep winning.
Once again Lebogang Maboe, Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino will be key to unlocking defences.
And the talents and experience of serial winners like Hlompo Kekana, Oupa Manyisa and Andile Jali, plus a rocksolid defence, will make them tough to beat.
Coach: Pitso Mosimane
Players to watch: Rivaldo Coetzee, Lebo Maboe and Themba Zwane.
Cape Town City
Cape Town City have been shouting from the rooftops that they want the PSL this season.
So there is no place to hide, it’s time to haal uit en wys or go down in a blaze of glory.
Benni will have to back his young talents this term in a squad that’s depth is a concern relative to their Gauteng rivals.
It could mean that he will have to be clever with his squad to fill in spaces he may miss this term and that means playing players out of preferred positions, especially in defence.
But City do have the ingredients for a title challenge.
Up front, goals will have to flow steadily from Kermit Erasmus and Siphelele Mthembu, while wingers like Gift Links and Craig Martin need to register more often.
They should get good service from a hardworking and skillful midfield.
The early-season absences of Roland Putsche and Thabo Nodada will throw the spotlight on young Zukile Kewuti, Thato Mokeke, Travis Graham and new star Mpho Makola.
Coach: Benni McCarthy
Key players: Thami Mkhize, Thabo Nodada, Siphelele Mthembu.
Pirates plundered their way to a runners-up spot last season and threatened a mutiny at the top of the PSL log.
Coach Micho built his side around a tough midfield base of Xola Mlambo and Ben Motswari and let the team fly with wingers like Thembinkosi Lorch, Luvoyo Memela and Vincent Pule.
That formula looks like it can still be effective this season. But Pirates have added depth and fresh options with a spate of signings.
Fortune Makaringe and Gabandinho Mhango add more pace and edge in attack, plus Siphesihle Ndlovu will bring more industry and steel to midfield.
Momentum and belief will make them serious contenders.
Key players: Happy Jele, Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule.
Amakhosi will have to step up big time after their disastrous season last time out.
They have a long way to bounce back after finishing outside the top eight.
Coach Ernst Middendorp has taken the brunt for their failings and was criticised for his less dynamic game plans.
Chiefs have a squad that would be the envy of the PSL in the hands of someone with more charisma.
But players are professionals and the likes of Lebo Manyama, Khama Billiat, Erick Mathoho, Rama Mphahlele and Itumeleng Khune should be bringing you results or at least performances.
The new additions of Kearen Baccus, Lazarous Kambole, James Kotei and Samir Nurkovic should provide the competition to blow away any cobwebs of complacency.
If there is even a sense of drift under Middendorp ahead of the Christmas break, I doubt that the German can survive much longer.
But a push for the title is expected by the club and fans.
Coach: Ernst Middendorp
Key players: Lorenzo Gordinho, Lebo Manyama, Khama Billiat.
The Students have flown under that radar since winning the PSL just Sundowns’ back-to-back titles.
Part of that reason is that they have had some really poor starts to their campaigns before having to play catch-up.
CEO Jose Ferreira has also claimed that they won’t be taking the Confederations Cup competition seriously, for which they qualified with a third-place league finish.
The idea is obviously to free themselves to challenge for the title again.
Coach Gavin Hunt is expected to play his regular direct game this season in the hopes of bring home the bacon.
Goalkeeper Darren Keet has moved to Belgium and striker Lehlohonolo Majoro is now at AmaZulu and will have to be replaced to make Wits serious contenders.
Coach: Gavin Hunt
Key players: Thulani Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Daylon Claasen.