Our writer previews the round 16 of the South African National First Division.
After an extra-long mid-season break, the South African NFD returns this weekend. Just to get you up to speed, Thanda Royal Zulu are running away with the league with their nearest title-challengers – Royal Eagles - 10 points adrift!
In the bottom-half of the standings, Santos and Magesi FC occupy the relegation zone with Cape Town All Stars just two points clear of them. There are 15 rounds to go and just about anything is possible. The PSL play-off places are very much up for grabs, so pay attention to the teams battling it out near the summit. That’s enough pleasantries for now, let’s find out what gameweek 16 has in store!
Saturday 11 February
University of Pretoria 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | AmaZulu 21/10
AmaTuks went into the break unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions with two wins and a draw last time out. Their opponents, AmaZulu, have won their last three matches in a row, including a 6-1 home win against Milano United.
An end to end game of football is likely with both Tuks and Usuthu going all out for the win. AmaZulu looked more commanding heading into the interval and I’m backing them on the win/draw Double Chance at 11/20 to maintain their impressive form.
Magesi FC 3/1 | Draw 23/10 | Witbank Spurs 8/10
The league’s basement boys – Magesi FC – have managed just two wins from 15 matches but will be delighted to kick-start the campaign with a home game. The downfall is that it’s against title-chasers Witbank Spurs.
The latter have been below-par on their travels and remain 11 points off the summit and just a point adrift of second place. Witbank won the reverse tie 2-0 and are tipped to pull the double over Magesi FC.
Mthatha Bucks 15/10 | Draw 21/10 | Jomo Cosmos 16/10
Mthatha Bucks have come a long way since their great escape last season. They are unbeaten on home soil with five draws and three victories from eight games. Jomo Cosmos have travelled poorly with five losses from seven matches, including four defeats on the spin.
This one looks set to go down to the wire. However, Ezenkosi’s away form leaves a lot to be desired and as a result, I’m tipped the home team to grind out a victory.
Real Kings FC 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | FC Cape Town 21/10
Newly promoted Real Kings FC will look to capitalise on home advantage when they take on FC Cape Town at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Capetonians have managed just one win from seven matches on the road and will need to improve on their travels if they are to come away with a point let alone three.
FC Cape Town won the reverse tie 2-1 and will prove tough to beat here. Real Kings have proved to be inconsistent, making the draw a likely result.
Sunday 12 February
Santos 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Cape Town All Stars 21/10
Santos and Cape Town All Stars will square off on Sunday in a local derby clash. The hosts have been terrible this season with just one win from 15 matches, including three losses on the spin. Cape Town All Stars are winless on the road with five losses from eight matches.
Between Santos and Cape Town All Stars, they have registered 15 draws. Just two points separates them on the standings and the sides are tipped to cancel each other out just as they did in the reverse tie, playing to a 3-3 stalemate.
Thanda Royal Zulu 7/10 | Draw 23/10 | Mbombela United 15/4
Thanda Royal Zulu are the gift that keep on giving! Amabhubesi are at the summit, 10 points clear of the next best team. They remain unbeaten with 10 wins and five draws from 15 games and have won all seven of their home matches.
Mbombela United are yet to win a match on the road after eight games, including five losses and three draws. The home win is the best NFD bet of the round at 7/10. Get On!
Milano United 13/10 | Draw 21/10 | Black Leopards 19/10
Milano United went into the break in dismal form losing their last three matches. Nonetheless, they have been strong at home with four wins from eight matches and will look to give a good account of themselves here.
Black Leopards are unbeaten in their last five league games and won the corresponding fixture 4-0. The away win should be backed.
Royal Eagles 11/10 | Draw 22/10 | Stellenbosch FC 22/10
Placed second on the log, Royal Eagles will be determined to push Thanda Royal Zulu all the way. They are unbeaten on home soil with six wins and one draw from seven matches, scoring 23 goals and conceding just eight times.
Stellenbosch FC suffered back-to-back defeats before the interval but to their credit, they have claimed the most wins on the road this season. Nonetheless, I still feel Eagles should reign supreme with a victory on home soil.
TREBLE @ 8/1
Mthatha Bucks Win (15/10)
Thanda Royal Zulu Win (7/10)
Royal Eagles (11/10)
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets