Our writer previews the round 17 of the South African National First Division.
Round 16 of South Africa’s second division saw table-toppers Thanda Royal Zulu move further away from the chasing pack. The men from Richard's Bay are now 12 points clear of their closest rivals – Royal Eagles – with 14 games to go until the PSL play-offs take centre stage.
There is a full set of midweek clashes to look forward to and I’m determined to find a winning formula. Is it safe to say Thanda Royal Zulu have this league under wraps? Or can one of their title-rivals mount a comeback to remember? Let’s take a look.
Wednesday 15 February
AmaZulu 23/20 | Draw 43/20 | Mthatha Bucks 39/20
AmaZulu’s three-match winning streak came to an end at the weekend as they earned a 1-1 draw away to University of Pretoria. They will welcome Mthatha Bucks to Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, a ground which they have won five of their eight home games, including back-to-back victories.
Mthatha Bucks stretched their unbeaten league run to 10 matches last time out with a goalless home draw against Jomo Cosmos. However, eight of those games have ended in a draw. Back AmaZulu to get back to winning ways.
Black Leopards 6/10 | Draw 23/10 | Santos 4/1
Black Leopards made it two victories on the bounce last weekend with a 2-1 win over Milano United, stretching their unbeaten run to six matches. Santos are looking vulnerable and weak at present, losing four games on the spin, while they remain winless in 15 matches.
The People's Team will be desperate to come away with a point let alone three but Black Leopards have the momentum with them, which should earn them over the winning line. Take Lidoda Duvha to bag maximum points.
Cape Town All Stars 39/20 | Draw 43/20 | Royal Eagles 23/20
Cape Town All Stars will take on Royal Eagles on Wednesday with one team desperate to avoid the drop and the other looking to push Thanda Royal Zulu all the way for the all-important title.
FC Cape Town are off the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win at Santos and will be eager to build on that. Eagles on the other hand, have struggled away from home with just one victory from eight travels, including back-to-back defeats. Back the Capetonians to capitalize on home advantage.
FC Cape Town 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | University of Pretoria 37/20
FC Cape Town are on the up with two wins on the trot. They showed organisation, unity and determination last time out as they ground out a 1-0 victory away to Real Kings FC. University of Pretoria settled for a 1-1 home draw with AmaZulu and will look to get back to winning ways.
AmaTuks have been inconsistent on the road and their opponents will hope to take advantage of that. However, University of Pretoria are still gunning for the play-off places and will be sure to earn at least a point. The draw should be backed.
Jomo Cosmos 8/10 | Draw 23/10 | Milano United 28/10
Jomo Cosmos have been excellent on home soil as they remain unbeaten with five wins and three draws from eight games, including consecutive wins. Milano United have the worst away record in the league with six defeats from seven matches, scoring just six goals and conceding 21 times.
Kinnes have lost four matches in a row and that doesn’t look likely to improve here. Ezenkosi have won the last three home meetings with Milano and are tipped to add to that.
Mbombela United 23/20 | Draw 22/10 | Real Kings FC 28/10
Mbombela United put up a good fight last time out but eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat at Thanda Royal Zulu, a second loss in as many games. Newcomers Real Kings FC have lost four of their last five matches, as well as two on the bounce.
Kings won the reverse tie 2-1 but with home advantage Mbombela United should do enough to come out on top. The home win is tipped.
Stellenbosch FC 7/10 | Draw 22/10 | Magesi FC 7/2
Stellenbosch FC are coming off a hard-earned 1-1 draw away to Royal Eagles. That stalemate stretched their winless run to seven matches – five draws and two defeats. Magesi FC have drawn their last three games and will look to build on that win a victory.
Nonetheless, the relegation-threatened side have traveled dismally with six losses from eight matches, scoring only five goals and conceding 17 times. The home win is the way to go.
Witbank Spurs 37/20 | Draw 22/10 | Thanda Royal Zulu 23/20
Witbank Spurs made a rough start to the campaign but have rallied and now stand a chance of being promoted this season. Siyavutha are unbeaten in their last six home matches with four victories and will look to utilize home advantage once again.
Thanda Royal Zulu are the only unbeaten team in the league, winning 11 times and drawing five times in 16 games with all five stalemates coming away from home. A cagey affair is on the cards and the draw looks a likely result.
TREBLE TIPPED @ 5/1
AmaZulu Win (23/20)
Black Leopards Win (6/10)
Jomo Cosmos Win (8/10)
Written by Aaron