Platinum Stars vs Kaizer Chiefs | Saturday 16 August | Royal Bafokeng | 20:15
The quartet of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Platinum Stars and Bidvest Wits make up an exact replica of last season’s MTN8 last four, with Stars and Pirates going on to challenge for the trophy, which Dikwena eventually lifted courtesy of a penalty shootout. Last year’s MTN8 winners Platinum Stars will host Kaizer Chiefs in the first semi-final on Saturday evening. Platinum Stars have established themselves as a formidable cup team and will be looking to make their fourth consecutive cup final in just one year when they host a solid looking Chiefs outfit. Please note that midweek league fixtures were yet to be played at the time of writing.
To Win (90mins)
Platinum Stars 3/1
Kaizer Chiefs 9/10
Platinum Stars’ Absa Premiership campaign got off to a losing start last Saturday evening as they were beaten 2-0 by newly-promoted Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Fresh from an impressive away win over Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-finals of the MTN8, Dikwena would have been hoping to remind the Chilli Boys of just how tough PSL football can be. Instead it was the hosts who were the better team and deservedly clinched three points. Platinum Stars began their quest to retain their MTN8 title against Mamelodi Sundowns two weeks back. Two goals in the opening fifteen minutes from Vuyo Mere and Ndumiso Mabena saw Dikwena beat the 2013/14 league champions 2-1 at Loftus Stadium. The Phokeng-based side has lost a number of influential players during the transfer window, including Siphelele Mthembu, Henrico Botes, Benson Mhlongo, Issa Sarr and Lindokuhle Mbatha. They have made a few signings but the only eye catching one thus far is in Ndumiso Mabena from Orlando Pirates. Mabena is likely to shoulder most of the goalscoring responsibilities and will relish the opportunity to put one past the Soweto giants here.
Kaizer Chiefs eased into the semi-finals of the MTN8 with a comfortable 4-0 win over Black Aces at FNB Stadium. The Amakhosi victory was set-up by two early goals from Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Kingston Nkhatha, before Mandla Masango added a brace in the second half to ensure a comfortable final third of the match for Stuart Baxter’s side. Kaizer Chiefs opened their Premiership campaign with a deserved 1-0 win over Free State Stars on a dismal pitch at Charles Mopeli Stadium last weekend and will be looking for another win here. Siphiwe Tshabalala will likely return to the match day squad but is expected to start from the bench. Tshabalala picked up an injury in the pre-season match against Chippa United on July 20 but returned to training last week. Bernard Parker is yet to reach full fitness and Kingston Nkhatha will likely lead the line alone, as he did against Free State Stars, in front of a five man midfield.
Katlego Mphela was an unused substitute against Stars as new boy Siphelele Mthembu was preferred to come on for Nkhatha. Mphela looks a shadow of his best but with all the competition around him he should step up to the plate when given his chance. The Chiefs backline have not conceded a goal in their three matches this season (Carling Black Label Cup, league, MTN8). Last season’s successful centre back pairing of Tefu Mashamaite and Eric Mathoho are keeping Morgan Gould on the bench while Tsepo Masilela (man of the match against Free State Stars) and Siboniso Gaxa are patrolling the flanks with ease. The Amakhosi midfield of Willard Katsande, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and George Maluleka looks a winning formula as it gives wingers George Lebese and Mandla Masango freedom to roam forward.
VERDICT: Kaizer Chiefs 9/10
Chiefs have had the better of their opponents in recent meetings with Amakhosi recording seven victories in the last thirteen head-to-heads, with Dikwena claiming just three wins. Chiefs are tipped to continue their good form with a win here.