South African NFD: Gameweek 24 Preview

Matches involving Highlands Park are becoming very easy to call as they’re brushing aside every team



After a week’s break due to the Nedbank Cup Round of 16 action, the NFD is back with some enthralling encounters in store. As I’ve been saying recently, it’s easy to make money on Highlands Park as they’re unbeaten in the league since gameweek five. The runaway leaders host Mbombela United on Saturday night.

Elsewhere, Ubuntu Cape Town, who stunned AmaZulu in the Nedbank Cup last week, have a tricky assignment against Jomo Cosmos. Check out my predictions and betting tips. 


Saturday 17 March 

Highlands Park 6/10  

Draw 5/2 
Mbombela United 9/2 
(15:30)

Sitting comfortably at the top of the standings, Highlands Park are unbeaten in their last 18 league games and the last time out, they proved too strong for Witbank Spurs, smashing them 3-0 on their own turf. The Lions of the North are 12 points clear of second-placed Real Kings. Mbombela finally returned to winning ways last time out when they beat Jomo Cosmos 2-0. They are very inconsistent as they have a record of 10 wins and nine defeats so far this season.
My money is on the hosts

Mthatha Bucks 14/10 
Draw 2/1  
Uthongathi 18/10 
(15:30)

It’s all going south for Bush Bucks as they remain rooted at the foot of the table and head into this match on the back of a four-match winless run. A win for Amatholamnyama could see them go level on points with their opponents. Uthongathi have to avoid defeat at all costs as they could find themselves at the bottom of the log by the end of the match. The Cane Cutters are winless in their last five games. This should be a cagey affair and the stalemate looks the most likely result. 

Real Kings 11/10  

Draw 2/1 
Black Leopards 5/2 
(15:30)

Real Kings are having a great season as they occupy second place which could give them a chance to participate in the PSL promotional play-offs. They showed a great deal of mental strength last time out, bouncing back from the KZN derby defeat to Royal Eagles by grinding out a 2-1 victory at Stellenbosch. After a slow start to the season, Black Leopards have remarkably turned their fortunes around. Lidoda Duvha are now fourth on the log and they’re unbeaten in their last five matches. This is a game between two promotion-chasing sides as the difference between them is just three points. I’m backing Real Kings to triumph at home. 

Super Eagles 14/10  
Draw 2/1 
Royal Eagles 18/10 
(15:30)

Big news coming out of Free State this week was that Super Eagles have appointed a new head coach in the shape of former Mthatha Bucks mentor, Ian Palmer to rescue their disastrous season. The Bethlehem-based side is second from the bottom and winless in their recent six league matches. Royal Eagles head into this one having slayed two giants that are in the top three in their recent league games. They beat Real Kings 1-0 and overcame Tshakhuma 2-0, however, the KZN outfit were disappointing against 10-men Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup last week, losing 2-1.
I think Royal Eagles will emerge victorious. 

Tshakhuma 13/20 
Draw 23/10 
Richards Bay 4/1 
(15:30)

Tshakhuma fans should be delighted that players who were on strike due to pay disputes, including Themba Ndlovu who joined the club in December after starring for Varsity Football finalists Tshwane University of Technology with seven goals and four assists, are back in training as everything has been resolved. TTM are third on the log and will be hoping to return to winning ways after losing to Royal Eagles last time out. Richards Bay shocked the whole country when they snapped their five-match winless run in the league by beating University of Pretoria 1-0. The New Rich Boyz lost 3-1 to Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup last week.
Get on TTM to win comfortably at home. 

University of Pretoria 13/10  

Draw 2/1 
Witbank Spurs 2/1 
(15:30)

Shaun Bartlett’s University of Pretoria are winless in three games and they are now six points off promotion places. If you look at the quality of teams above them, they should start getting used to the idea of kissing their promotion hopes goodbye. Witbank Spurs have made some significant changes to their coaching staff.  Siyavutha chairman Themba Mafu made a switch from head coach to technical director, as former Mbombela coach Vusi Mkhatshwa took over the coaching reins. They have also signed former Baroka captain Olaleng Shaku who was dismissed by his former club alongside coach Kgoloko Thobejane for drinking in the team bus, but it looks like they were unaware that he won’t be eligible to play until the end of the season. University of Pretoria are tipped on the Win/Draw at 3/10.

Sunday 18 March 


Cape Town All Stars 1/1  

Draw 21/10 
Stellenbosch 5/2 (15:30)

This will be a scintillating iKapa derby with both teams having been knocked out of the Nedbank Cup over the last few weeks by Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs by a one-goal margin. Cape Town All Stars have drawn seven and won two of their last nine league matches. On the other hand, after Stellenbosch’s 2-1 Nedbank Cup defeat to Kaizer Chiefs, coach Steve Barker made it very clear that their focus is now fully on the league. They are six points off a play-off spot and the best option is to do well in their remaining seven games and hope for the best.
This is a tough one to call, but I’ll just back Stellies. 

Jomo Cosmos 9/10  

Draw 22/10 
Ubuntu Cape Town 28/10 
(15:30)

Jomo Cosmos have received a huge boost as ace winger, Silas “Shorty” Maziya returned to training on Wednesday after more than a month out on the sidelines. Ezenkosi have also signed Nigerian midfielder Kizito Chinonye Obi and Tanzanian striker Ismail Mohamed Mgunda. Ubuntu Cape Town have won three successive games, including a sizzling 3-2 victory over AmaZulu in the Nedbank Cup last Friday, since the appointment of American coach Casey Prince.
The momentum is with Ubuntu hence I’m tipping them. 

TREBLE @ 11/1
Highlands Park 6/10
Real Kings 11/10
Ubuntu Cape Town 28/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya