Our writer previews the round 21 of the South African National First Division.
The NFD makes a swift return this weekend after a short interval due to Nedbank Cup commitments. Thanda Royal Zulu remain at the summit but their current form is in question due to their disappointing results in recent weeks.
None of the teams in the chasing pack have been able to capitalise on Thanda’s speed wobble but the points difference between first and second place has diminished moderately. In the bottom half of the table, Magesi FC and Santos will clash on Sunday in a relegation dogfight. The side seem to be doing battle for last place with just a single point separating them. As we enter round 21 this weekend, there is still plenty at stake, so let’s get to it.
Saturday 18 March
University of Pretoria 8/10 | Draw 24/10 | Mbombela United 33/10
Before the break, University of Pretoria fell to a 3-2 defeat away to newcomers Real Kings FC, ending a run of back-to-back victories. Nonetheless, they will gladly return to their stomping ground, where they are undefeated in their last six league games.
Mbombela United have been disappointing with five losses from their last six matches, including three defeats on the spin. The Mpumalanga based side are yet to win on their travels with seven losses and three draws from 10 games, scoring just eight goals and conceding 17 times. The home win is tipped confidently.
Black Leopards 13/20 | Draw 24/10 | Cape Town All Stars 9/2
Black Leopards would have been disappointed last time out, going down 2-1 at Stellenbosch FC, ending a run of five consecutive victories. However, they have won their last three home games and will look to make it four in a row.
Cape Town All Stars come to town in a bit of form. They are unbeaten in their last six matches, including two away victories on the bounce. The Capetonians have not tasted defeat at the hands of Black Leopards in the last five meetings and are well worth a punt on the Double Chance at even money.
Milano United 5/1 | Draw 5/2 | Thanda Royal Zulu 6/10
Milano United have been on a downward spiral, suffering a colossal eight defeats from their last nine matches in all competitions. They have been fairly decent on home soil but their lack of consistency brings them down.
The Kinnes will welcome table-toppers, Thanda Royal Zulu, to the Grassy Park Stadium on Saturday. Amabhubesi have struggled in recent weeks, claiming just one victory since the league resumed in February.
This fixture usually goes in favour of the home team with Milano claiming the last four victories on their ground against the KwaZulu-Natal based side, scoring 12 goals and conceding just three times. Back the Kinnes to utilize home advantage at a staggering 5/1!
Royal Eagles 5/10 | Draw 26/10 | FC Cape Town 6/1
Royal Eagles have the best home record in the league as they remain unbeaten unbeaten with eight wins and two draws from 10 matches, scoring 31 goals and conceding just 12 times. FC Cape Town are winless in their last four games and have lost the last five meetings against the Durbanites.
The reverse tie ended 4-1 in favour of Royal Eagles and they look certain to pull the double over the African Beasts. Back Eagles to take close the gap between themselves have the log-leaders with a victory.
Mthatha Bucks 9/10 | Draw 23/10 | Real Kings FC 3/1
Mthatha Bucks were excellent last time out, earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Thanda Royal Zulu. They are unbeaten on their ground with four wins and six draws from 10 matches and will be looking to maintain that record against newly-promoted Real Kings FC.
The away team come into this one unbeaten in their last three matches, including an impressive 3-2 home victory over University of Pretoria last time out. However, the Durbanites are winless on their travels, scoring seven goals and conceding 15 times. The reverse tie ended all square with a 2-2 stalemate. Back Mthatha Bucks to make home advantage count.
Sunday 19 March
Santos 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Magesi FC 22/10
Santos and Magesi FC will go toe-to-toe in what promises to be a tightly contested bottom of the log clash. The People's Team have managed just two wins from 20 matches this season, scoring a mere 13 goals in the process.
Magesi FC lie just a point and a place above their opponents and will aim to build on their 1-0 home win over Milano United last time out. However, the newcomers have registered just one win from 10 travels, scoring eight goals and conceding 21 times. Very little separates the sides and the draw looks a likely outcome.
Jomo Cosmos 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Stellenbosch FC 22/10
Jomo Cosmos will take on Stellenbosch FC at the Tsakane Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Ezenkosi are undefeated on home soil with seven wins and three draws from 10 games, including four victories on the trot.
Stellenbosch FC are currently on a five-match unbeaten league run, claiming two wins but both victories coming on home soil. They are without a win in their last five matches on the road and should go down. The home win is on the cards.
AmaZulu 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Witbank Spurs 5/2
AmaZulu have been a tough team to call this season, blowing hot and cold. Usuthu have been satisfactory on home soil but following their hard-earned 1-0 victory away to Mbombela United before the break, the Durbanites will be a bit more confident in claiming maximum points.
Witbank Spurs are without a victory in their last five games, including two defeats and three draws. Siyavutha – at the time of writing – are still to travel to Chippa United for their Nedbank Cup round of 32 clash. After that, they will still need to prepare for their matchup at AmaZulu, which could prove tiring. Back AmaZulu to bag all three points.
TREBLE TIPPED @ 15/1
University of Pretoria Win (8/10)
Milano United Win (5/1)
Royal Eagles Win (5/10)
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets