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South African PSL: Gameweek 25 Preview

Orlando Pirates players celebrating

Orlando Pirates’ 2-1 victory over Golden Arrows last week has put them within a point of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and that has made the title race very interesting. Kaizer Chiefs face a tricky assignment against Free State Stars which is spiced up by speculation that Luc Eymael who’s in charge of Ea Lla Koto could replace Steve Komphela at the end of the season. The one-point gap between the sides makes the encounter even more enticing. 

Let’s forecast how gameweek 25 fixtures are likely to pan out. 

Tuesday 3 April

AmaZulu 11/10  
Draw 21/10 
Ajax Cape Town 5/2 

AmaZulu displayed a great deal of fighting spirit against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium last time out, holding Amakhosi to a goalless draw. Usuthu lie 11th with 28 points and they look set to survive relegation in their first season back in the elite league. Ajax Cape Town are second from the bottom and they really need to start collecting points as soon as possible if they want to secure PSL safety. They have lost 12 matches this season which is half of their 24 games so far. Get on AmaZulu to edge this one.

Bidvest Wits 5/4  
Draw 21/10 
Maritzburg United 22/10 

Wits are unbeaten in eight league games and that has seen them move out of the relegation zone and into 10th place. Lehlohonolo Majoro and Gavin Hunt have won Player and Coach of the Month Awards for February which underlines the sudden change of fortunes for the Clever Boys. Maritzburg United head into this one on the back of a four-match unbeaten run and they are currently third on the log. The front trio of Andrea Fileccia, Siphesihle Ndlovu and Deolin Mekoa has been superb, with Ndlovu making his Bafana Bafana debut this past weekend. I’m expecting the sides to cancel each other out.

Wednesday 4 April 

Free State Stars 18/10  
Draw 21/10 
Kaizer Chiefs 11/10 

The gap between these two teams is just one point and it’s more like a must-not-lose game for Free State Stars, who are a spot above Kaizer Chiefs. Rumour has it that Chiefs want Luc Eymael to replace Steve Komphela at the end of the current campaign and he will also be looking to impress his potential future employers. On the flip side, Komphela is a former Ea Lla Koto coach who gave them their highest ever finish when he guided them to fourth a couple of years back. Amakhosi have won only one of their last five league matches. My money is on Stars.

Cape Town City 19/20  
Draw 22/10 
Golden Arrows 28/10 

Cape Town City were eliminated by Mozambican outfit, Costa Do Sol from the CAF Confederations Cup last week and this match for them is about redemption. The last time they played a domestic game they knocked Orlando Pirates out of the Nedbank Cup. Arrows have won only one of their eight recent matches across all competitions. They are one of the four teams that have drawn 12 times which is half of their 24 games that they’ve played so far this season. This should be a victory for the hosts.

Mamelodi Sundowns 5/10
Draw 28/10
Chippa United 11/2

Sundowns have drawn three of their recent five league matches and that has put them under a great deal of pressure as second-placed Orlando Pirates are now only one point adrift of them. The Brazilians will look to Percy Tau, who has nine goals this campaign to provide the goods. Tau and Sibusiso Vilakazi were impressive for Bafana Bafana in the Four Nations Tournament this past weekend. Vladislav Heric got his first victory since taking over the coaching reigns last week when Chippa United beat Free State Stars. I’m expecting him to go to Pretoria and try salvaging a draw. I’m tipping a stalemate. 

Orlando Pirates 6/10 
Draw 5/2 
Bloemfontein Celtic 47/10 

Pirates head into this one knowing very well that they might finish the gameweek on top of the log, depending on the result of the other match between Sundowns and Chippa. Their job is to win their game and hope for the best. Innocent Maela and Thembinkosi Lorch were part of the Bafana Bafana set up and are expected to make a meaningful impact in this match. Celtic have been very inconsistent and come into this match carrying a record of eight wins, eight defeats and eight draws. You just don’t know which Celtic will rock up on the day. I say Pirates collect maximum points here.

Platinum Stars 22/10  
Draw 18/10  
Baroka 14/10 

Platinum Stars are rooted to the foot of the table and are winless in their last nine league games where they lost seven and drew two. I think it’s only a matter of time before their relegation is confirmed. MacDonald Makhubedu was called upon to steady the Baroka ship when Kgoloko Thobejane was sacked and he’s somewhat managing to do it successfully. Bakgaga are now unbeaten in the last four matches with three draws and one win. They will be hoping to find their killer instinct against PSL whipping boys. Baroka should triumph here.

Polokwane City 14/10  
Draw 2/1 
SuperSport United 2/1 

This is a battle of two teams that are on 27 points and will be looking to seal PSL safety as soon as possible. Polokwane have drawn half of their 24 games and their task is to avoid losing to a team that might leapfrog them. SuperSport United are just one spot above the relegation zone and if they lose here and Ajax who are below them win, it could be problems. Matsatsantsa have parted ways with Eric Tinkler and appointed assistant coach Kaitano Tembo to take charge in the interim. My money is on SuperSport.

QUAD @ 21/1
Cape Town City Win 19/20
SuperSport Win 2/1
Orlando Pirates Win 6/10
Baroka Win 14/10

Written by Benedict Ngwenya