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Absa Premiership: Gameweek 15 Preview

Most of the teams are reaching the halfway mark of the league and there’s no better Christmas present for the fans than winning the last game of the calendar year. Kaizer Chiefs are guaranteed to go into the long-awaited break on top of the league, Orlando Pirates players are eager to impress the new coach, while fixtures keep coming thick and fast for Mamelodi Sundowns who are involved in CAF Champions League action as well. Here’s how gameweek 15 is likely to pan out:

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore
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Friday 20 December 

Bidvest Wits 23/20 
Draw 39/20 
Cape Town City 26/10 

Wits have some serious catching up to do having played only nine games so far this season due to their continental football commitments. Ahead of this fixture they have a crucial, potentially season-defining clash against Mamelodi Sundowns in midweek. The last time out, Gift Motupa converted from the spot to hand the Clever Boys maximum points against Golden Arrows who couldn’t convert a penalty of their own. On the other hand, Cape Town City are still winless under coach Jan Olde Riekerink and this will be a tough test away from home. Having witnessed the hosts only managing a victory through a controversial penalty and the visitors struggling to find their feet under the new coach, I’ll back a share of the spoils.

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Saturday 7 December

Baroka 13/10 
Draw 39/20 
Stellenbosch 23/10 

Two consecutive draws have seen Baroka stay two points above the relegation zone while the visitors, who are winless in five league games, are rooted to the foot of the table. Stellenbosch gave a good account of themselves against Mamelodi Sundowns the last time out only to be hard done by poor refereeing decisions and I think they will fancy their chances against fellow strugglers. Put your money on Stellies at 23/10.

Highlands Park 31/20 
Draw 34/10 
Golden Arrows 2/1 

Highlands Park are winless in seven games across all competitions and they come up against an Arrows side who have won three matches in the same period. However, since then, Steve Komphela’s men have lost back-to-back encounters. It’s hard to separate these two sides and I think they’ll cancel each other out.

Orlando Pirates 4/10 
Draw 18/10 
Black Leopards 13/2 

Orlando Pirates have had an indifferent start to the season which has prompted the powers that be to appoint a new coach in the form of little-known German, Josef Zinnbauer. The players will be looking to impress him irrespective of whether he gets his work permit in the nick of time to sit on the bench for this encounter. Their main problem has been scoring a lot of goals while conceding a lot at the back as well. Black Leopards who are now under the tutelage of well-known Luc Eymael lie 10th on the table with the Belgian coach having won two and drawn one of his first four league games in charge of the side. The new feel good factor injected by the appointment of the new coach should propel Pirates to a victory at home.

Mamelodi Sundowns 11/20 
Draw 26/10 
Polokwane City 52/10 

This is Mamelodi Sundowns’ third match in seven days after the triumphant Telkom Knockout final against Maritzburg United and the crucial league match against Wits in midweek. Coach Pitso Mosimane is starting to give the likes of Sphelele Mkhulise and Keletso Makgalwa a chance to keep his side fresh. Andile Jali is back to his best and Mauricio Affonso gives them aerial presence in the opposition box. The Brazilians come up against a Polokwane City side who are enduring an eight-match losing streak in the league. Rise and Shine are one spot above the relegation zone and they are still adapting to coach Clinton Larsen’s tactics. I foresee a one-sided clash here with Sundowns collecting maximum points.

Chippa United 18/10 
Draw 17/10
SuperSport United 37/20 

Chippa United have improved under coach Norman Mapeza who have hoisted them from the relegation zone into 12th place. However, the Chilli Boys are winless in their last three games with two draws and one defeat. SuperSport are second on the log having last tasted defeat 10 gameweeks ago! Kaitano Tembo’s men are 10 points off the pace having played one game more than top-placed Kaizer Chiefs and they’re playing with little or no pressure. Back the visitors to triumph.

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Sunday 22 December

Bloemfontein Celtic 27/20 
Draw 18/10 
AmaZulu 23/10 

The last time out, Celtic gave up the lead three times as they lost 5-3 to Kaizer Chiefs and they showed signs of being vulnerable against aerial balls. Phunya Sele Sele have been decent though this season as they lie in sixth place. The visitors from KZN are in the relegation zone with a recent record of four winless games. Usuthu have also failed to score in any of their last four league games. This has Celtic victory written all over it.

Maritzburg United 33/20 
Draw 18/10 
Kaizer Chiefs 19/10 

This is a repeat of the recent Telkom Knockout semi-final which Maritzburg United won 2-1 and they could have won by a greater margin had poor finishing not let them down. The Team of Choice lost the final 2-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns after conceding two headers and, aerial balls are Chiefs’ biggest strength. Even the goal they conceded against Amakhosi in the semi-finals was from a set piece. Expect Maritzburg to try and hurt Chiefs on counter-attacks with the likes of Judas Moseamedi and Mxolisi Kunene being key while the visitors will be putting long balls into the box in search of Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic. I will back Chiefs on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 4/10.

TREBLE @ 4/1
Pirates Win 4/10
Sundowns Win 11/20
Celtic Win 27/20

Written by Benedict Ngwenya