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Absa Premiership: Gameweek 16 Preview


It’s the turn of the year and the beginning of a new decade, meaning it’s a clean slate for every team in the Absa Premiership. Starting 2020 on a good note could rewrite the wrongs of yesteryear for many clubs in the division, while a slump for the usual title contenders could see a bit of nerves creep in. There’s a full round of action to look forward to this weekend with the gameweek starting off on Friday night as Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows kick-start proceedings in what should be a fiery KZN derby. Sundowns return to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where they recently lifted the Telkom Knockout Cup, to face AmaZulu, while Josef Zinnbauer’s Orlando Pirates look for back-to-back league victories for the first time this season. The main focus, though, is the headline act between SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs at the Mbombela Stadium as Amakhosi look to pick up where they left off before the break and stretch their lead at the top of the standings.



Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore
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Friday 3 January 

Maritzburg United 11/10 
Draw 2/1 
Golden Arrows 24/10 
(20:00)

Maritzburg United look to leapfrog Golden Arrows as KwaZulu-Natal’s leading team in the Absa Premiership when the pair do battle at the Harry Gwala Stadium. The Team of Choice ended 2019 off with plenty of positives to take into the new year, reaching the Telkom Knockout final, which they narrowly lost to Sundowns in, and then taking a point against a high-flying Kaizer Chiefs side. The same cannot be said for Arrows after Steve Komphela’s men ended the year off with three consecutive league defeats. Put your money on the home win here.

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Saturday 4 January

Stellenbosch 28/10 
Draw 22/10 
Bidvest Wits 9/10 
(15:30)

With Bidvest Wits starved of a genuine football break in December, Gavin Hunt’s men will look to make the most of their match fitness and put Stellenbosch to the sword at the Cape Town Stadium. The Clever Boys have been one of the best performing teams in the division this season, despite sitting in fourth place. Should Wits win their three games in hand over Kaizer Chiefs, they could drag themselves right back in the mix. For Stellies, it remains to be seen whether Granwald Scott will get a chance to impress his new employers against his former side. Ovidy Karuru will be another player looking to impress coach Steve Barker in the early days of his spell at the Cape-based club, but as far as picking a winner goes, there is only one team in mind. Back Wits to claim maximum points and continue their superb away form.

Bloemfontein Celtic 22/10 
Draw 2/1 
Orlando Pirates 12/10 
(15:30)

Bloemfontein Celtic have the task of cooling down the fire on Orlando Pirates as the Buccaneers chase successive victories for the first time this term after beating Black Leopards 3-1 in Josef Zinnbauer’s first game in charge. After a decent run in the league, Lehlohonolo Seema’s side started to show defensive frailties before the Christmas break, being trounced 5-3 by Kaizer Chiefs and going on to lose 2-1 at home to AmaZulu. Away from the Orlando Stadium, Pirates have been an eye-sore, winning just once all season, in Tembisa. Under new tutelage, though, perhaps Pirates will fancy their chances as they look to get closer to the CAF spots in the standings. My money is on Bucs.

Polokwane 22/10 
Draw 2/1 
Chippa United 12/10 
(15:30)

Its been a past couple of months to forget for Polokwane City after the Limpopo-based side ended 2019 off with a run of nine consecutive league defeats. Meanwhile, after an indifferent start to the campaign, Chippa United have turned the corner and kick-start the new year as one of the in-form teams in the division. The Chilli Boys are unbeaten in their last five encounters, winning four – keeping clean sheets in all five matches. Coincidentally, that run of clean sheets starting when Veli Mothwa was instilled into the starting line-up following Patrick Tignyemb’s sloppy performances. I certainly see Chippa’s unbeaten run continuing here, but not with maximum points. A share of the spoils is where I’ll be putting my money.

SuperSport United 22/10 
Draw 2/1 
Kaizer Chiefs 12/10 
(18:00)

The blockbuster fixture commences in Mpumalanga as SuperSport United host log-leaders, Kaizer Chiefs, at the Mbombela Stadium. Matsatsantsa were on a superb eight-game unbeaten run before Chippa United’s 1-0 win over Kaitano Tembo’s men took them back to the drawing board and eager to return to winning ways. Right now, it doesn’t get any harder than playing against Kaizer Chiefs, who have done everything right this season. The Glamour Boys have a seven-point lead over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns and are nine games undefeated, winning eight. On the road, Chiefs are yet to lose a game, winning six of their seven matchups. They’re also unbeaten in their home games taken to Durban and Mbombela. Its hard to see any team beating Chiefs at this moment, so perhaps the Away Win/Draw Double Chance is the best and safest option here at 3/10. For the bold punters out there, 12/10 is a fairly reasonable price to hop on for Chiefs to win.

AmaZulu 28/10 
Draw 22/10 
Mamelodi Sundowns 9/10 
(20:15)

Saturday night sees another humdinger tie to look forward to as Durban’s iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium draws back its curtains as AmaZulu host the two-time defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns. Usuthu claimed a morale-boosting 2-1 win away to Bloemfontein Celtic before the break, moving them three places higher up the table into 12th spot. They’ll also have a point to prove to Sundowns after Pitso Mosimane’s men thrashed them 5-0 in the reverse fixture. Masandawana’s busy schedule continues into the new year as they face AmaZulu a week after travelling to Algeria in the CAF Champions League. As they’ve shown, Sundowns certainly have the capabilities and the legs to compete on all fronts. Having said that, 9/10 looks a decent price on the away win – get on!

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Sunday 5 January


Highlands Park 19/20 
Draw 21/10 
Black Leopards 26/10 
(15:30)

We turn our attention to Tembisa where Highlands Park look to climb the table and cement their spot in the top eight when they host an inconsistent Black Leopards side. After Luc Eymael recieved his marching orders at Lidoda Duvha, Cavin Johnson will be eager to hit the ground running at Leopards. Owen Da Gama’s men will fancy their chances of inflicting further pain on Leopards, but after these sides shared the spoils in a 1-1 stalemate earlier this term, perhaps another stalemate could be on the cards.

Cape Town City 12/10 
Draw  2/1 
Baroka FC 22/10 
(15:30)

One of the biggest disappointments this season has undoubtedly been Cape Town City. With Benni McCarthy well-fitted and implementing his style, many expected it to be third time lucky for Bafana Bafana’s all-time leading goalscorer. But since then, McCarthy has lost his job and Cape Town City have lost their way. Jan Olde Riekerink has failed to live up to the hype that came with his CV, failing to win a match thus far at the helm of City. Baroka sit a point and a place above Cape Town City in 14th spot and have had troubles of their own, failing to win in their last four outings. Despite that, Bakgaga have won 50 percent of their away matches, claiming three victories in six games. Not for the first time this weekend, I’m backing a draw.

TREBLE @ 13/2
Maritzburg Win 11/10
Bidvest Wits Win 9/10
Sundowns Win 9/10

Written by Jesse Nagel