Our soccer analyst previews the NFD week 12 action which kicks of on Friday 24 November 2017.
Highlands Park continue to top the NFD standings after a four-match winning streak and they are now three points clear of second placed Mbombela. Uthongathi’s winless run continues and they keep sliding down the table. Speaking of The Cane Cutters, they open this weekend’s fixtures with a mouth-watering clash against Cape Town All Stars on Friday evening. How will that match and the rest of the weekend fixtures develop? Let’s take a look.
Friday 24 November
Cape Town All Stars 1/1 | Draw 21/10 | Uthongathi FC 5/2
The gap between the two teams is three points and I’m expecting them to match each other pound for pound. The hosts are ninth on the log with 14 points in 11 outings. They will count on home ground advantage to turn around their two-match losing streak.
The Cane Cutters are winless in the last four matches and they have only collected two points in those. That has seen them drop to 13th on the log. It’s fair to say that their last two defeats were understandable as the new kids on the block went down to league contenders in the shape of University of Pretoria and Highlands Park. The visitors should return to winning ways here.
Saturday 25 November
Super Eagles 13/10 | Draw 21/10 |Black Leopards 19/10
This is a clash between a newly-promoted team and struggling visitors. Super Eagles managed to grind out a 1-0 victory over visiting Cape Town All Stars last week which helped them climb up to 13th place and they will be hoping to continue their good home form against Lidoda Duvha.
Leopards also managed to amass three points last week, getting the better of Mthatha Bucks. This will be a daunting travel to the Free State against a side that is high on confidence. Both sides are tied on 13 points so this will make for an intriguing clash. I’m tipping a draw.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | Royal Eagles 28/10
After going five games undefeated, TTM were finally beaten last week, suffering a 3-0 demolition at the hands of Mbombela. The Limpopo-based outfit, which has against all odds remained in the top eight thus far, will fancy their chances against struggling Eagles.
Zipho Dlangalala is battling to make ends meet at Royal Eagles. The team is in the relegation zone as they’re second from the bottom. They have suffered a staggering three defeats in the last five matches with one win and one draw. I say TTM win this one at home.
University of Pretoria 7/10 | Draw 23/10 | Richards Bay 15/4
University of Pretoria are now just managing not to lose sight of the top-placed Highlands Park. They are third on the log, managing to avoid defeat four times in the last five matches but three of those were drawn. Last week they were held to a goalless draw by struggling Ubuntu Cape Town.
Richards Bay come into this one off the back of five consecutive draws. Three of those were goalless and the other two were 1-1 stalemates. They will go to Pretoria to defend and I foresee them salvaging a point.
Highlands Park 7/10 | Draw 23/10 | Witbank Spurs 15/4
Highlands Park are really serious about returning to the PSL as they are riding the crest of the NFD wave. The Lions of the North are the form team as we speak as they have won all their recent four matches and they are three points clear of second-placed Mbombela. Witbank are also undefeated in the recent four games but the difference is that they drew two of those. Last week, they were held to a goalless draw by struggling Richards Bay. Based on current form, home ground advantage and quality, I’m tipping Highlands Park.
Sunday 26 November
Real Kings 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | Stellenbosch 23/10
The most defensively resolute team of the season so far, who play conservatively have manged to outwit their opponents in recent games. They’ve won their last three without conceding and I think I should stop calling them the Real Kings of draws. I’m expecting the same tactical approach at home against dangerous Capetonians. They will defend and rely on counter attacks and set pieces for goals.
The Stellies have relinquished the top spot and significantly plummeted to sixth spot after going five games without a single victory. This is a tricky encounter away from home against a stubborn team that can be dangerous on set pieces. My money is on Real Kings.
Mthatha Bucks 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | Ubuntu Cape Town 28/10
Mthatha Bucks were smashed 2-0 by struggling Black Leopards last week and they are now 11th on the log. Amatholamnyama are very inconsistent as they carry a record of four defeats, four draws and three wins since the season started. Ubuntu Cape Town still remain the only winless team in the NFD this season after 11 matches. They have lost five and drawn six. The Mother City team anchors the table and it would take a mighty miracle for them to get something out of this match. Get on Mthatha Bucks to win at home.
Jomo Cosmos 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Mbombela United 21/10
This is somewhat a top of the table clash, probably the tightly contested match up of this round as second-placed Mbombela visit Jomo Cosmos. The difference between these two sides is only one point. Ezenkosi were kicked out of PSL play-off spots by drawing 2-2 with Stellenbosch last week.
Mbombela know very well that this is a clash worth six points as a win would make sure that that they stay within touching distance of top-placed Highlands Park while steering clear of their opponents and possibly Pretoria University as well. Tough one to call but put your money on the home side.
TREBLE @ 11/2
Real Kings Win 11/10
Highlands Park Win 7/10
Mthatha Bucks Win 9/10