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South African NFD Preview

South African NFD
As things stand, Highlands Park are on the cusp of finding their way back to South Africa's top flight
This week the NFD first half of the season wraps up and as things stand, Highlands Park are on the cusp of finding their way back to the PSL. The Lions of the North maintained top spot and their four-point advantage over the chasing pack. We also saw a different, free-scoring Real Kings who uncharacteristically netted five goals against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila. What does the upcoming gameweek have in store for us? Let’s take a look…

Saturday 16 December

11/20 Highlands Park | Draw 23/10 | Cape Town All Stars 52/10 (14:00)

Highlands Park seem to be too strong for the NFD sides and their immediate return to the PSL seems imminent. They are on a nine-match unbeaten run in which they have won seven games. Last week they made an easy meal of Mthatha Bucks whom they beat 3-1 in their own backyard. Cape Town All Stars are very inconsistent with a mixed bag of results. In their last three matches, they drew with Uthongathi, won against struggling Ubuntu Cape Town and lost to University of Pretoria. I think the Lions of the North will be too strong and they will claim a victory at home.

8/10 Mbombela United | 22/10 | Uthongathi FC 33/10 (15:30)

Mbombela are just a spot below PSL play-off places and they head into the match off the back of a four-match unbeaten run. They earned a credible goalless draw against Stellenbosch who are also in the running for promotion last week. The Cane Cutters have gone three games without tasting defeat, collecting five out of a possible nine points. This will be a tough test away for Ronnie Gabriel’s men away from home. My money is on Mbombela.

21/10 Richards Bay | 37/20 | Black Leopards 13/10 (15:30)

It’s all going south for the New Rich Boyz as they have only won one of their 14 matches this season. They remain rooted to the foot of the table with 10 points. They have a recent record of three defeats in a row. After starting the season poorly, Lidoda Duvha have turned their fortunes around, recently going four games unbeaten. They have amazingly climbed up to ninth spot. This should be an easy victory for the visitors.

13/10 Royal Eagles | 18/10 | Ubuntu Cape Town 22/10 (15:30)

Royal Eagles are having their most disastrous start ever! They are sitting third from the bottom and they have reappointed the man who was in charge of the team last season, Kostadin Papic to rescue the situation. He is their third coach this season after Allan Freese and Zipho Dlangalala failed to produce required results in their respective spells. Ubuntu Cape Town are another struggling side and they are a place blow their opponents. They head into this one knowing that these are the type of games they need to win to stand any chance of surviving relegation. With Eagles’ mentor back from performing a back surgery in his native Serbia, I’m backing them to win at home.

12/10 Tshakhuma FC | 2/1 | Super Eagles 22/10 (15:30)

Tshakhuma were thrashed 5-1 at Real Kings this past weekend and that saw them slide down to seventh place. They are very inconsistent with two wins, two defeats and one draw in the last five games. Super Eagles are just managing to hold their own in the elite league. Last week they beat struggling Richards Bay and that was a very important result for them as they now lie in 12th place, six points above the relegation zone. I think it will be a cagey affair with Super Eagles salvaging a point away from home.

1/1 University of Pretoria | 2/1 | Real Kings FC 28/10 (15:30)

University of Pretoria are among the league title contenders as they lie third on the log, four points off the pace. Last week they returned to winning ways, recording a 2-1 victory at Cape Town All Stars. Real Kings, who are known for playing defensive football, were able to catch Tshakhuma napping on a few occasions this past weekend and managed to trounce them 5-1. That was a huge morale booster as it came off the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Uthongathi FC. Put your money on the home side.

15/10 Witbank Spurs | 39/20 | Stellenbosch FC 17/10 (15:30)

Witbank Spurs come into this one off the back of five consecutive draws. That might look like a beautiful unbeaten run but they are dropping two points every game and that is equal to less than two wins and three defeats. Stellenbosch will be desperate to return to winning ways after last weeks draw with Mbombela left them seven points off the pace. They are unbeaten in the last four matches. I foresee the Stellies edging this one.

Sunday 17 December

11/20 Jomo Cosmos | 23/10 | Mthatha Bucks 6/1 (15:30)

Jomo Cosmos are second on the log with four points being the difference between them and top-placed Highlands Park. Ezenkosi are unbeaten in the last seven games, having recorded five victories and two draws. The hosts will go for the kill as they are unbeaten at home all season long. Mthatha Bucks are winless in the last six games, having endured five defeats and one draw. Four of those defeats came away from home. Cosmos should win this one comfortably.

QUAD @ 14/1
Highlands Park Win 11/20
Black Leopards Win 13/10
Stellenbosch Win 17/10
Jomo Cosmos Win 11/20

Written by Benedict Ngwenya