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Absa Premiership: Gameweek 19 Preview

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt
Don’t let the log table deceive you when betting on Absa Premiership games this weekend as every fixture might look like a whole new ball game. Top-placed Bidvest Wits host bottom-placed Maritzburg United who have just parted ways with coach Muhsin Ertugral. You know what the arrival of a new coach does to a team. Elsewhere, AmaZulu visit Mamelodi Sundowns who have three games in hand. Will the Brazilians collect maximum points and leapfrog Orlando Pirates into second place? Let’s discuss this weekend’s action. 

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Friday 1 February

Bidvest Wits 5/10 
Draw 28/10 
Maritzburg United 11/2 

High-flying Bidvest Wits have lost only one of their last five games with three of those ending in victories for the Clever Boys. Gavin Hunt’s men showed how ruthless they can be against the minnows when they smashed Boyne Tigers 4-0 in the Nedbank Cup. Maritzburg United parted ways with coach Muhsin Ertugral on Monday and the arrival of a new coach will make the game unpredictable. It can either be a slow start with players having to adapt or a thrilling performance with players trying to impress. The Team of Choice have won only one of their 18 league games so far. Everything points towards a Wits win.

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Saturday 2 February

Golden Arrows 33/20  
Draw 18/10 
Highlands Park 19/10 

Steve Komphela is unbeaten in his first four games as the head coach of Golden Arrows with two wins and two draws. Abafana Bes’thende gave amateur side Tjakastad a 3-0 drubbing in the Nedbank Cup last week. Highlands Park advanced to the Nedbank Cup Last 16 after beating AmaZulu on penalties. Sello Motsepe was sent off in the 120th minute and he will not be available for selection this weekend. The Lions of the North lie ninth on the log which is just one spot above their opponents. I can’t separate these two sides and I’m predicting a draw.

Free State Stars 47/20  
Draw 37/20 
Polokwane City 13/10 

This is a clash of two sides that are desperate to return to winning ways after suffering defeats against teams from the National First Division in the Nedbank Cup last week. Free State Stars were shocked 2-1 by Richards Bay while Polokwane City lost by the same scoreline to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila. The hosts are one spot above the relegation zone while their opponents lie sixth without a defeat in their last five games. Back Polokwane City due to a better league form.

Sunday 3 February 

Baroka 12/10 
Draw 37/20 
Chippa United 26/10 

Baroka are just two spots off the relegation zone and are still not safe from the drop. Ever since winning the Telkom Knockout, they’ve won just one of their subsequent league games. They might have managed to hold both Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates to stalemates but they were heavily criticised for their time-wasting tactics. Clinton Larsen has won both his two matches in charge of Chippa United having recorded a 2-0 victory over bottom-placed Maritzburg United in the league and a 2-1 victory over title-chasing Mamelodi Sundowns. I expect Larsen’s winning streak to continue here.

Bloemfontein Celtic 11/10 
Draw 18/10 
Black Leopards 3/1 

Rendani Ndou’s last-gasp winner handed Bloemfontein Celtic a 2-1 victory over third tier side, Super Eagles in the Nedbank Cup last week. Their league form has been indifferent with seven wins, seven defeats and four draws so far. Black Leopards are loving life under Dylan Kerr’s mentorship as they head into this one off the back of a six-match unbeaten run across all competitions. They are high on confidence after eliminating Orlando Pirates from the Nedbank Cup last week. My money is on Kerr’s men.

TREBLE @ 20/1
Bidvest Wits Win 5/10
Chippa United Win 26/10
Black Leopards Win 3/1

Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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