Our football expert previews the NFD Week 18 action which kicks off on Friday 18 January 2019.
Coach Andries Ulderink has won five consecutive matches with Ajax Cape Town which has seen them shoot into second position and only four points off the pace. By a way of contrast, top-placed Stellenbosch have won only two of their last five games and they were shocked 2-0 by Richards Bay at home last week.
The Urban Warriors and Stellies go head to head in the iKapa derby which headlines this weekend’s action. So, how are this week’s matches likely to pan out? Let’s take a look.
Friday 18 January
Ubuntu Cape Town 15/10
Dominic Isaacs has really transformed Cape Umoya United as he’s on a five-match unbeaten run since taking over the coaching reigns. Last week, they played out to a goalless draw with promotion-chasing Mbombela.
They host an inconsistent Uthongathi side that has six wins, six defeats and five draws so far this season. A second half goal saw them lose 1-0 to University of Pretoria at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium. I don’t know which Uthongathi side is going to pitch up on the day but I fancy a draw.
Saturday 19 January
Mbombela United 1/1
University of Pretoria 26/10
Mbombela were held to a goalless draw by relegation-threatened Cape Umoya United last week and they’re currently placed third on the log. On the other hand, University of Pretoria snapped a seven-match winless run when they recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Uthongathi last week. I foresee the hosts returning to winning ways.
Witbank Spurs 12/10
Real Kings 22/10
Bottom-placed Witbank Spurs shockingly beat Maccabi 1-0 last week to end a four-match losing streak. A win against Real Kings would see them go level on 18 points with them. The Magic Boys head into this one off the back of two consecutive draws which has taken their recent unbeaten run to four games. Avoiding a defeat would see them avoiding dropping into the relegation zone this week. Back a draw here.
TS Sporting 14/10
Jomo Cosmos 18/10
TS Sporting haven’t been convincing ever since Edward Samuel took over the coaching reigns as they head into this match off the back of five consecutive matches without a win. They have lost four of those encounters.
Jomo Cosmos have also lost four of their last five matches and that has seen them drop to 12th on the standings. Ezenkosi were dealt a terrible blow a few weeks ago when they lost the services of Charlton Mashumba to Polokwane City. Put your money on the home side.
Sunday 20 January
TS Galaxy 13/10
Another shock result of the weekend saw TS Galaxy lose to relegation-threatened Ubuntu Cape Town. Dan Malesela’s boys relinquished a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 and they are now placed seventh on the log. After so much promise in the early part of the season, Tshakhuma’s recent form has been indifferent. Overall, they have seven wins, five defeats and five draws. It’s hard to choose a winner here but I’ll go with the hosts.
Royal Eagles 12/10
Richards Bay 2/1
Royal Eagles have dropped out of the top three after failing to win any of their recent two games. They drew one and lost the other one. They will fancy their chances in the KZN derby against Richards Bay who are four points behind them. The Natal Rich Boyz registered an impressive 2-0 victory at table-topping Stellenbosch last week. I’m tipping a cagey affair that will end in a draw.
Cape Umoya United 13/10
Dominic Isaacs’ Cape Umoya United have gone five games without tasting defeat and that has seen them climb out of the relegation zone into 14th position. They have a recent record of three draws and two wins.
On the other hand, Maccabi have lost four of their last five matches and a dramatic change in fortunes is needed if they’re to challenge for honours. I think they will come unstuck against a hungry Cape Town side. Get on the home side to edge this one.
Ajax Cape Town 23/10
This is an enthralling derby between two sides which top the NFD standings. A win for the Urban Warriors would see them narrowing the gap to one point while a victory for the Stellies would stretch the gap to seven points.
From an Ajax perspective, they’re the form team at the moment as they head into this one off the back of five successive wins while Stellenbosch came unstuck against Richards Bay last week. The momentum is with Ajax and I think they will win this one.
TREBLE @ 17/1
TS Sporting Win 14/10
TS Galaxy Win 13/10
Ajax Cape Town Win 23/10