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South African NFD Preview

South African NFD
This week’s NFD fixtures get underway on Friday as Cape Town All Stars host University of Pretoria
Highlands Park are now four points clear at the summit of the NFD standings with Jomo Cosmos who are in hot pursuit of the top spot, leapfrogging University of Pretoria into second place, Uthongathi FC got the better of Real Kings in the peak of last week’s matches and Richards Bay’s winless streak continued. Those are some of the events that unfolded this past weekend, now, let’s forecast what’s likely to happen in the upcoming gameweek…

Friday 8 December

13/10 Cape Town All Stars | Draw 2/1 | University of Pretoria 39/20 (15:30)

Cape Town All Stars recorded an impressive 2-0 victory at the home of their crosstown rivals, Ubuntu Cape Town. That means they’ve kept clean sheets in two consecutive matches, collecting four points in the process after holding Uthongathi to a goalless draw in the previous match. Shaun Bartlett’s University of Pretoria were surprised by Tshakhuma who beat them 2-1 in their own backyard. That saw them relinquish second place on the table to Jomo Cosmos. This will be a tightly-contested match and the teams are likely to cancel each other out.

Saturday 9 December

5/4 Black Leopards | 21/10 | Witbank Spurs 2/1 (15:30)

Black Leopards, who started the season poorly, have recently gone three matches unbeaten, winning two of those before securing a valuable point away at Royal Eagles. That has seen them climb up to 10th on the log which has somewhat alleviated their relegation fears. Witbank are just one spot above their opponents and what saw them plummet is a string of four consecutive draws. Will they be able to return to winning ways against a team on ascendance? I foresee the match being cagey and a share of the spoils being the results.

9/4 Mthatha Bucks | 21/10 | Highlands Park 11/10 (15:30)

Mthatha Bucks are going through a rough patch, having collected only one point in the last five matches. The only thing they can count on against the log leaders is home ground advantage. Highlands Park come flying into this one with a recent record of six wins and two draws in the last eight games. They top the NFD standings with 26 points in 13 games and that’s an average of two points per game. Get on the visitors to win comfortably.

13/10 Real Kings FC | 21/10 | Tshakhuma 19/10 (15:30)

Real Kings conceded more than once in a game for only the second time this season when they lost 2-0 to rampant Uthongathi FC on Sunday. They stuck to their tactics in the highly publicised KZN derby which was televised on both public and private broadcasters but their resistance crumbled in the second stanza when the Cane Cutters threw everything they had at them. Tshakhuma shocked University of Pretoria who are among the league title contenders 2-1. That was a credible win away from home for the new kids on the block and it should be a strong message to other NFD teams. Real Kings don’t concede easily so I’m backing them to win 1-0 at home.

13/10 Stellenbosch FC | 2/1 | Mbombela United 2/1 (15:30)

After enduring a six-match winless run, Stellenbosch returned to winning ways last week, beating Super Eagles 1-0. That has kept them four points off the pace and one point adrift of the top two. They’ll definitely go for the kill at home. Mbombela are tied on 22 points with Jomo Cosmos and University of Pretoria who occupy second and third place respectively. Their goal should be to stay within touching distance of the title or at least the top three. I’m backing a draw.

23/20 Super Eagles | 18/10 | Richards Bay 26/10 (15:30)

Super Eagles must be delighted to finally play struggling opponents off the back of back-to-back defeats. They currently lie 13th on the log with the same number of games. This is a relegation dogfight six-pointer and they should win it to stand a good chance of surviving. Richards Bay are still with a single victory in 13 games. It will be very difficult for them to win this one away from home as the opponents are also fighting for survival. The New Rich Boyz have recently conceded six goals over two matches against top three sides. I think Super Eagles edge this one.

Sunday 10 December

15/20 Jomo Cosmos | 9/4 | Royal Eagles 7/2 (15:30)

Jomo Cosmos are unbeaten in the last six matches with four wins and two draws. Ezenkosi are now second on the log and they will be looking to steer clear of third and fourth-placed University of Pretoria and Mbombela who have the same amount of points as them. Royal Eagles head into this one off the back of a six-match winless run, having drawn three and lost three recently. This will be a tough test away from home. I don’t see Eagles upsetting the form book, my money is on Cosmos.

19/10 Ubuntu Cape Town | 19/10 | Uthongathi 14/10 (15:30)

Struggling Ubuntu Cape Town are rooted to the foot of the NFD table with only one win in 13 games. It will take something of a miracle for them to survive relegation. Uthongathi played scintillating football last week, downing Real Kings 2-0 in a thrill-packed KZN derby. I’m tipping the Cane Cutters to triumph.

TREBLE @ 11/1
Uthongathi Win 14/10
Stellenbosch vs Mbombela Utd Draw 2/1
Jomo Cosmos Win 15/20

Written by Benedict Ngwenya