THE 2013-14 Safa-NMB SAB League kicks off at Londt Park tomorrow with Callies hosting Motherwell Academy in a Pefa derby.
Motherwell are making their debut in the competition after acquiring the Bay Stars Academy franchise during the closed season.
Last year, Callies entered the competition late and were forced to play double-headers to make up the backlog. The heavy programme took its toll but a strong finish saw them end the season in the top four.
Debutantes Fairview Rovers (Nafa) and Peace United (Wafa) clash at the Finnis Street field on Saturday.
"While we are aware of the task ahead, we are not going into the competition just to make up the numbers," Rovers chairman Alwyn Meyer said. "Luke Gardner and Cleavon Draai have rejoined the club from Bay Stars and with former Bloemfontein Celtic and Santos goalkeeper Brendon Prince heading the coaching staff we mean business."
Prince will be assisted by another ex-professional, Aslam Sydow, who also has no illusions about the task ahead.
"While the SAB League is a new experience for most of us, the boys have proved in practice matches that they are up to the challenge ahead."
Once again Motherwell teams are expected to dominate the Safa-NMB SAB Premier League, which kicks off next week.
Last season, four teams from the area finished in the top five, with Real City going on to win the championship and eventually promotion to the Safa Second Division.
This season six teams – Lion City, Tomorrow Stars, Subs, Showvillage United, Royal Bucks and Camper United – are from Motherwell.
Lion City, who open their campaign against Subs in a Motherwell derby at the NU2 stadium, will start as one of the hot favourites to win the championship and a place in the play-offs for promotion.
"Last year we lost the league title in the last match," City boss Dr Ngubo Biyana said. "We are not going to make that mistake again."
Fixtures: Tomorrow: Callies v Motherwell Academy.
Saturday: Tomorrow Stars v Highland Spurs, Camper United v Central Acemates (both NU9), Hotspurs v Island City, Callies v Bay Stars (Londt Park), Lion City v Subs, Showvillage United v Despatch Pioneers (both NU2), Callies v Bay Stars (Londt Park), Morning Stars v Royal Bucks (Zwide Stadium), Fairview Rovers v Peace United (Finnis Street).