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South African PSL Preview

It’s tight at the top of the table with Baroka leading the way, with a number of teams hot on their heels.
It’s tight at the top of the table with Baroka leading the way, with a number of teams hot on their heels.
The international break is finally over as we get back to PSL football. It’s tight at the top of the table with Baroka FC leading the standings, with a number of teams hot on their heels. There’s some exciting fixtures to look forward to in round 11 of the ABSA Premiership, with the showdown between Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns being the biggest eye-catcher. Let’s get straight into it!

Tuesday 21 November

5/2 Bidvest Wits | Draw 22/10 | Mamelodi Sundowns 1/1 (19:30)

Bidvest Wits sit second from the bottom on the PSL standings, having lost five of their opening nine matches. They’ve only won against Orlando Pirates and table-topping Baroka FC, which shows they have big match temperament. The defending champions also managed to hold Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-1 draw. Sundowns have three games in hand, but they’re only five points off the pace. The Brazilians have won four and lost three of those matches. Having crashed out of both the CAF Champions League and Telkom Knockout, being competitive in the domestic league matches is their priority. Back the Brazilians here.

8/10 Orlando Pirates | 23/10 | Golden Arrows 3/1 (19:30)

The Buccaneers have not been deadly enough and that’s clearly evident in their record so far. They have drawn 50% of their league games which leaves them in seventh place with 14 points. They might be playing attractive football, but their finishing always lets them down. Golden Arrows will make a long trip to Gauteng knowing that a win might propel them to the top of the standings even if it’s just for a few hours. They currently sit in second place with 15 points after 10 games, that’s two points adrift of top-placed Baroka FC. Back Orlando Pirates to collect maximum points at home.

23/10 Platinum Stars | 21/10 | Bloemfontein Celtic 11/10 (19:30)

Platinum Stars are still rooted to the foot of the PSL table with only one win in 10 games. Crashing out of the Telkom Knockout must have been a blessing in disguise as Roger De Sa’s men need to focus on their survival campaign. This is now their opportunity to hit back at Celtic who eliminated them from the Telkom Knockout. Bloemfontein Celtic have rapidly turned the corner and they now sit comfortably in fourth place. Phunya Sele Sele have won three of their last five matches, suffering only one defeat. That has earned their mentor, Veselin Jelusic the October Coach of the Month award. I’m expecting Celtic to beat Dikwena again.

12/10 Polokwane City | 21/10 | Maritzburg United 21/10 (19:30)

After talks of Polokwane City sacking coach Bernard Molekwa, the team has amazingly turned the corner and they remain unbeaten in the last four matches with three draws and one win. Rodney Ramagalela, their dangerman, is currently the PSL’s leading goalscorer and Player of the Month for October, so the Team of Choice need to be wary of the threat that he poses. Maritzburg United are enduring a very poor spell as they remain winless in their last 10 matches across all competitions. In that period they have only scored two goals. Under-fire coach, Fadlu Davids, has to start picking up points if he doesn’t want to see his own fans calling for his head. A draw is on the cards here.

Wednesday 22 November

28/10 AmaZulu | 23/10 | Kaizer Chiefs 9/10 (19:30)

This is a repeat of the Telkom Knockout clash in which rampant Kaizer Chiefs demolished AmaZulu 3-0 at Moses Mabhida Stadium a few weeks ago. AmaZulu have decided to take this one to King Zwelithini Stadium where they came from behind to slay Sundowns 2-1. Over the last five league games, Kaizer Chiefs have recorded three goalless draw and a credible win against Mamelodi Sundowns. The newly-favoured 3-4-3 formation is working wonders for the team which has been a laughing stock for the past two seasons. They just need to make sure they convert their chances. I foresee the visitors coming away with all three points.

12/10 Cape Town City | 21/10 | Baroka 21/10 (19:30)

This is a top of the table clash with Cape Town City who are two points off the pace looking to get the better of top-placed Baroka and possibly leapfrog them into first place. Baroka have managed to collect maximum points only once over the last five games. They drew three times and lost once. With the chasing pack breathing down their necks, they can’t afford any more slip-ups. Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City has followed up two consecutive league defeats with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Free State Stars. The players showed how much they want to play for the coach when they sprinted to the bench to celebrate with him when Taariq Fielies scored the 85th minute winner. McCarthy, who had slammed his players for not stepping up to the plate, is now whistling a different tune and he is having faith in them. Get on the home side to grind out a win.

13/10 Free State Stars | 21/10 | Chippa United 19/10 (19:30)

Luc Eymael’s influence is clearly evident in Free State Stars as they are not fighting relegation this season. They held their defensive structure very well in their most recent encounter against Cape Town City, only to be hard done by a last-gasp winner. They have collected 11 points in nine games. Ever since Teboho Moloi took over the coaching reigns, Chippa United has been playing incisive, attacking football which is more direct and progressive compared to Dan “Dance” Malesela’s tiki-taka. They have won all their last three league games which came off the back of five consecutive draws. They are sweating over the fitness of Kurt Lentjies who got injured during a collision with Itumeleng Khune in the Telkom Knockout defeat the last time out. My money is on the Chilli Boys.

TREBLE @ 11/1
Kaizer Chiefs Win 9/10
Cape Town City Win 12/10
Chippa United Win 19/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya