Our local football scribe previews round 23 of the 2016/17 season of the ABSA Premiership.
ABSA Premiership action returns in midweek, with four fixtures on Tuesday and two each on Wednesday and Thursday. The biggest clash of gameweek 23 will be played on Thursday when Mamelodi Sundowns lock horns with SuperSport United, with both teams hoping to bounce back from defeats. Let's take a look below:
Tuesday 11 April
Orlando Pirates 7/10 | Draw 5/2 | Maritzburg United 15/4
Pirates’ winless streak in the ABSA Premiership stretched to 12 matches after they were beaten 3-2 at Free State Stars last Saturday, leaving manager Kjell Jonevret still searching for his first win in the top flight. The Buccaneers currently find themselves on their worst ever winless streak in the league, and with eight games left to play they are just three points off the relegation zone.
Maritzburg United snapped a three-match losing streak by beating Ajax Cape Town 2-1 at home last Saturday. The Team of Choice are winless in their last six travels, suffering four consecutive defeats. These teams have cancelled each other out in three of their last five meetings; back the draw.
Baroka FC 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Free State Stars 22/10
Bottom-of-the-log Baroka FC have had a bit of a turnaround in fortunes of late after drawing with Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs before ending SuperSport United’s 19-game unbeaten run last weekend, and they now seem to stand a chance of avoiding relegation in their debut ABSA Premiership campaign.
Free State Stars moved out of relegation with a 3-2 win over Orlando Pirates at James Motlatsi Stadium, which extended their unbeaten run to three matches. Stars’ away form doesn’t bode well for their chances; they’ve won just once in their last nine travels, suffering seven defeats. I’m going for the home win.
Bidvest Wits 13/20 | Draw 26/10 | Golden Arrows 4/1
Bidvest Wits beat Platinum Stars 2-0 in Johannesburg to temporarily take over first place in the ABSA Premiership with 41 points, before Cape Town City’s win over Chippa United on Monday. The Clever Boys are riding a five-match winning streak at the Bidvest Stadium, scoring 18 goals while conceding only twice.
Kudakwashe Mahachi scored a last-gasp winner as Golden Arrows edged struggling Highlands Park 2-1 in KwaMashu last Saturday. Abafana Bes'thende consequently bolstered their tally to 30 points from 22 matches and went above Polokwane City into sixth spot on the table. Arrows’ away form is a major concern; they’re winless in six matches, suffering four defeats. The home win is tipped confidently.
Chippa United 13/10 | Draw 21/10 | Polokwane City 21/10
Chippa United’s winless streak in the ABSA Premiership stretched to seven matches after they were thumped 4-1 at Athlone Stadium by Eric Tinkler’s charges on Monday. The Chilli Boys will be desperate to turn their fortunes around against Polokwane City, however, Rise and Shine won the reverse fixture in December, with Jabu Maluleke scoring the game’s only goal.
Polokwane City’s run of six consecutive draws in the league came to an end following a 1-0 defeat at home to Bloem Celtic last Sunday, extending Rise and Shine’s winless streak to nine matches. The two struggling teams are tipped to cancel each other out.
Wednesday 12 April
Bloem Celtic 7/2 | Draw 23/10 | Kaizer Chiefs 8/10
Bloemfontein Celtic snatched a 1-0 win against Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium last Sunday. With many of the best chances having gone the way of Rise and Shine it took an excellent Lyle Lakay strike in the second half to move Celtic up to 12th in the table. Celtic have won just once in six matches at home, losing three in the process.
After three consecutive draws, Kaizer Chiefs secured a 2-1 victory over reigning champions Sundowns last Saturday. The result extended Amakhosi’s unbeaten streak in the ABSA Premiership to 10 matches. Chiefs will be high on confidence and are tipped to come away with maximum points.
Ajax Cape Town 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Highlands Park 22/10
Ajax Cape Town have gone eight games without a win in all competitions and they are the only club without a league win in 2017. The Urban Warriors are 13th on the table with 22 points from 20 matches. Coach Stanley Menzo is concerned about his team’s failure to get a win as other teams close to them in the standings are picking up points.
Highlands Park’s two-match winning streak came to an end as they went down 2-1 away to Golden Arrows last Saturday. The Lions of the North have won just once in 11 of their travels this season, losing seven times. The teams are tipped to share the spoils.
Thursday 13 April
Platinum Stars 24/10 | Draw 22/10 | Cape Town City 11/10
Platinum Stars’ three-match winning streak in the ABSA Premiership came to an end last Saturday as they were beaten 2-0 away to Bidvest Wits. Dikwena will be hoping to return to winning ways and secure a third consecutive victory at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Stars will be high on confidence against Cape Town City, having won the reverse fixture 4-0 in Cape Town – handing the newly-formed club their heaviest defeat.
Eric Tinkler’s charges will be looking to avenge that defeat as they aim to maintain their position at the summit. City are unbeaten in their last seven matches in the league, winning five times. A tight affair is expected, but I’m going for Stars on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 6/10.
Mamelodi Sundowns 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | SuperSport United 3/1
African champions Mamelodi Sundowns suffered another slump in the ABSA Premiership as they were beaten 2-1 away to Kaizer Chiefs last Saturday. Before falling to Chiefs, the Brazilians failed to score when drawing with Chippa United, losing to Cape Town City and drawing with Polokwane City.
It only gets tougher for Pitso Mosimane’s side as they face title rivals SuperSport United. Sundowns are fifth in the table with 34 points, seven less than table-toppers Bidvest Wits with two matches in hand. SuperSport United, whose 19-match unbeaten run ended with a shocking 1-0 home loss to bottom club Baroka, lie fourth with 37 points. Downs are unbeaten in 10 meetings against Matsatsantsa, winning seven times. My money's on Sundowns to seal a tough home win.
TREBLE TIPPED @ 11/2
Baroka Win 12/10
Wits Win 13/20
Chiefs Win 8/10
Written by Doctor’s Orders @Hollywoodbets