Telkom Knockout: Last 16 Preview

Soccer players playing at a stadium

Our football writer previews the Telkom Knockout Last 16 action which kicks off on Saturday 20 October 2018.

Logic dictates that Telkom Knockout Last 16 fixtures should be easy to call as the top eight teams from the previous season face the rest but there’s more that meets the eye. For example, Bidvest Wits had a shambolic last season but the new signings have sparked new life into the team and they currently top the PSL standings.

Cape Town City and Maritzburg United are languishing on the wrong side of the table and newly-promoted Highlands Park have only lost one game so far this season. Let’s have a look at all eight fixtures and try to make the right predictions.
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Saturday 20 October 

Baroka FC 17/10  
Draw 2/1 
Golden Arrows 17/10 
aroka are having a really tough season as they find themselves lying second from the bottom after winning just one league game this season. Wedson Nyirenda’s men have scored just five times in 10 games and they head into this one off the back of three consecutive league games without finding the back of the net.

Clinton Larsen’s Golden Arrows finally returned to winning ways last week when they beat newly-promoted Black Leopards 1-0 and that was their first victory since gameweek one. They also have a goal drought issue as they’ve only scored five times in nine games. I’ll tip Arrows to win here as Baroka are under pressure to survive relegation.

Free State Stars 22/10 
Draw 2/1 
Bidvest Wits 13/10 
Bidvest Wits have a terrible record at Goble Park where they haven’t won since 2013 and before that, they had last won in 2010. However, it’s Luc Eymael’s Free State Stars who have had an indifferent start to the season and they currently sit ninth on the log after three wins, two draws and five defeats. By a way of contrast, the defending champions got of to a flying start in the league and they have won five and drawn two of their nine games so far.

Being not in the MTN8 must have helped their cause as they’ve focused on the league and the Telkom Knockout will find a well-rested team with new signings like Gift Motupa, Mxolisi Macupu, Robyn Johannes, Deon Hotto and Terrence Dzvukamanja having gelled nicely with the rest of the squad and contributing immensely towards the great start. Put your money on the visitors to break their Goble Park hoodoo.

Mamelodi Sundowns 8/10 
Draw 23/10 
Bloemfontein Celtic 7/2 
By their standards, Sundowns have been poor this season as they have drawn five and lost two of their seven league games so far this season. They were also knocked out of the MTN8 in the semi-final, but truth be told, they’ve been hard done by three major refereeing decisions: they’ve had a legitimate goal disallowed against Celtic, an offside goal against them stood against Cape Town City and Bidvest Wits’ goalkeeper Darren Keet handled outside the penalty area but escaped the red card. They are the only unbeaten team in the league this season.

Celtic are under the tutelage of Steve Komphela who is known to have a good record against Pitso Mosimane. It remains to be seen how long their players are willing to fight for the team in spite of the salary dispute that is currently going on. I’m backing Sundowns to win at home.

Maritzburg United 14/10 
Draw 2/1 
Highlands Park 2/1 
Maritzburg United followed up losing their first two league games by going five matches unbeaten.  But during that unbeaten run, they’ve scored only one goal and that was when they beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 with the other four matches ending goalless. It remains to be seen if Tendai Ndoro is eligible to play for Highlands Park as his Ajax Cape Town scandal last season is well-documented.

The Lions of the North have players with PSL experience in the likes of Tapuwa Kapini, Moeketsi Sekola and Lindokuhle Mbatha, and that helped them start the season well. I think Highlands Park should win against a team that battles to score.

Orlando Pirates 6/10 
Draw 5/2 
Chippa United 5/1 
The Orlando Pirates coaches are spoilt for choice as Jackson Mabokgwane who replaced Siyabonga Mpontshane the last time out produced a superb performance. Justin Shonga is in good shape and he scored in both of Zambia’s qualifiers during the FIFA International break. One of their standout performers this season, Vincent Pule, will sit out this clash due to a knee injury. Since the appointment of Eric Tinkler, Chippa have won two, lost two and drawn one of their five games under his mentorship.

The Chilli Boys have acquired the services of former SuperSport United duo Thato Mokeke and Miguel Timm. Both players were free agents and are eligible to be registered immediately, however, the former is awaiting his international clearance. I’m expecting a convincing win for the Buccaneers.



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Sunday 21 October

Polokwane City 14/10 
Draw 22/10 
SuperSport United 18/10 
Resurgent Polokwane City are unbeaten in the last six matches with a record of four wins and two draws and they’ve managed to find the back of the net in every game during that period. They’re a team dangerous on dead ball situations as Jabulani Maluleke is a popular free-kick specialist and the last time out, Vusumuzi Mngomezulu’s stunning strike beat Itumeleng Khune hands down to hand them a 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs.

Matsatsantsa have won a lot of trophies in recent seasons and they will be hoping to continue that impressive run when the visit the Limpopo outfit. Teboho Mokoena, Dean Furman and Aubrey Modiba have all been excellent for Bafana Bafana against Seychelles. This will be a tight matchup and I’m playing it safe by backing Both Teams to Score.

Kaizer Chiefs 13/20 
Draw 5/2 
Black Leopards 9/2 
Chiefs are one of those teams that have a lot of players on national duty ahead of the cup weekend but I see that as a fitness exercise as opposed to something that will cause fatigue. Lebohang Manyama produced a Man of the Match performance against Bloemfontein Celtic in the Macufe Cup and his arrival has eased the pressure on Khama Billiat.

Leopards are finding the going tough in the elite league as they have lost 50% of their league games so far this season. They have conceded 12 goals in eight games, including the 4-0 hammering at the hands of SuperSport United. Chiefs should be too strong for the visitors. Get on the Amakhosi win at 13/20!

Tuesday 23 October

AmaZulu 17/10 
Draw 2/1 
Cape Town City 17/10 
After being docked six points, AmaZulu are now rooted to the foot of the table, and ever since, they’ve drawn their two subsequent league games. Usuthu are aiming to make King Zwelithini Stadium a fortress and they’re still unbeaten at home this season. Cape Town City are high on confidence after recently winning the MTN8, however, their league position must be a cause for concern.

The Citizens are currently third from the bottom and the Telkom Knockout might be a bit of a distraction in their fight for survival. Thabo Nodada, Gift Links and Thamsanqa Mkhize have been amazing and they were part of the Bafana Bafana squad that played back to back AFCON Qualifiers against Seychelles. I think this one will end in a draw and penalties will decide the outcome.

QUAD @ 14/1
Pirates Win 6/10
Sundowns Win 8/10
Chiefs Win 13/20
AmaZulu vs CT City Draw 22/10


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