Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama believes Orlando Pirate are a stronger team this season
Posted: 4 August 2018 Time: 18:00
Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama believes Orlando Pirates have gotten stronger since their runners-up finish in the Absa Premiership last season.
Highlands, who cruised to National First Division honours in 2017/18, will begin life back in the topflight against the Buccaneers at Orlando Stadium on Saturday(20h15).
Da Gama, a Pirates legend and ex-Bucs coach, has noted the Sea Robbers reinforced their playing squad in the off-season by bringing in the likes of Kudakwashe Mahachi, Asavela Mbekile, Paseka Mako and the currently injured Brilliant Khuzwayo.
"Pirates will be stronger than last year after they ended second on the log," Da Gama said.
"They also signed quality players. We are coming in and we don't know the players that we are bringing from the NFD, who is going to step up or not.
"We have not settled as a team. We got to be honest and respect this league."
Da Gama, however, has embraced the challenge of facing the Soweto giants first up.
"What we are totally sure about is when we play Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, these quality teams are going to allow us to go to another level as a team.
"If you want to compete against the best you have to be at your best.
"We are so fortunate that we are starting our first game against a team that could have potentially won the league last year."