Our writer previews the 2016/17 MTN Semi-Finals, which resumes this weekend following a brief international break.
After beating Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates so far this season, Bidvest Wits will be looking to go one step closer to claiming the grand prize of R8 million. Gavin Hunt’s side will host Eric Tinkler’s Cape Town City at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.
Bidvest Wits v Cape Town City | Saturday 10 September | Bidvest Stadium | 15:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Bidvest Wits 7/10 | Draw 23/10 | Cape Town City 4/1
Bidvest Wits have had the toughest start this season, facing Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in their first two games. Hunt’s side came from behind to beat Pirates 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the MTN8 thanks to goals from Buhle Mkhwanazi and Thulani Hlatshwayo as well as crucial goalkeeping blunders from Felipe Ovono. Prior to that result, the Clever Boys defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in their Absa Premiership clash at the Bidvest Stadium with goals from Elias Pelembe and Hlatshwayo.
Wits will be looking to maintain their perfect start and become the first team to beat Cape Town City. Hunt is blessed with a talent littered assortment of options who boast pace and power in abundance, with these attributes allowing the Clever Boys to break with devastating efficiency. Wits certainly have top players in their ranks and the deadline day signing of Sifiso Myeni from Orlando Pirates will add to that quality.
Cape Town City
Cape Town City beat Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in their quarter-final clash, courtesy of a goal from Australian Matthew Sim. Before that, the City Boyz dispatched Polokwane City 2-0 in their opening match in the Absa Premiership. Their squad is made up of a host of players from the previous Black Aces squad and a number of new acquisitions. Highly-rated midfielder Aubrey Modiba joined SuperSport United on deadline day with Thato Mokeke heading in the opposite direction; on-loan for the remainder of the season.
The City Boyz have a really good team and if Eric Tinkler gets them to gel, they’ll keep on surprising people. They work extremely hard and have a boundless energy which is capable of overwhelming opponents. Tinkler will be relying on striker Lehlohonolo Majoro to score the goals that win the match. Major is still searching for his first goal for the club following his move from Orlando Pirates.
Verdict: Bidvest Wits (7/10)
Bidvest Wits are tough to beat at the Bidvest Stadium and with the quality they possess, they should oust their opponents.
PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns will travel to Port Elizabeth on Sunday to take on high-flyers Chippa United in the second MTN8 semi-final clash. The Brazilians boast an excellent head-to-head record against Dan Malesela’s side which bodes well for their chances.
Pitso Mosimane’s team remain unbeaten from their seven encounters with Chippa having won five times – including four on the spin. However, Chippa have looked superb this season and they won’t go down without a fight.
Chippa v Sundowns | Sunday 11 September | Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium | 15:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Chippa United 3/1 | Draw 22/10 | Sundowns 9/10
Facing Mamelodi Sundowns is a daunting battle for any PSL team these days and the Chilli Boys will need to be in red-hot form. Chippa will fancy their chances of causing an upset though and home ground advantage gives them that extra possibility. Dan Malesela has made a clear impact at the Port-Elizabeth based club, leading Chippa to a sixth-place finish in the league last term.
The Chilli Boys have made a strong start this season, winning both of their matches, scoring twice in each game. They recorded a 2-1 victory over Free State Stars in their opening PSL match, thanks to a brace from Rhulani Manzini. That result followed with an impressive 2-0 win over Platinum Stars in the MTN8 quarter-final with Manzini getting on the scoresheet again and new signing Menzi Masuku opening his account. Malesela will be expecting a good performance from his players and if Manzini is in the mood, Chippa could punch above their weight.
Semi-finalists of the MTN8 and CAF Champions League, Mamelodi Sundowns are dominating African football. Pitso Mosimane’s team secured a spot in the MTN8 semi-finals with a 3-1 win over SuperSport United at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The goals came from Wayne Arendse, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Khama Billiat. Downs are yet to win the top eight competition under its current sponsorship by MTN, but victory over Chippa will take them a step closer.
Mosimane has an abundance of talent at his disposal and the deadline day signing of Bafana Bafana right-back Anele Ngcongca will make them even stronger. Sundowns have quality players in every position and Chippa will struggle to live with the firepower they possess.
Verdict: Mamelodi Sundowns (9/10)
Sundowns’ record against Chippa United speaks for itself and with the added quality of Vilakazi and Ngcongca, Malesela’s side are fighting a losing battle. The Brazilians are tipped confidently.
Written by The Doctor’s Orders for @Hollywoodbets.
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