This will be a tricky week in the GladAfrica Championship with some of the teams having the Nedbank Cup last 32 action in mind.
However, I expect the likes of Uthongathi, Ajax Cape Town, Swallows and Steenberg United to prioritise promotion. Speaking of second-placed Uthongathi and third-placed Steenberg, they go head-to-head in a massive six-pointer. Here’s how I expect this weekend’s action to pan out.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Friday 31 January
Cape Umoya United 15/20
Jomo Cosmos 33/10
Cape Umoya United shockingly beat promotion-chasing Steenberg 1-0 last week courtesy of an early Molemo Mekoa strike. That was their second win on the bounce as it came after an emphatic 4-1 annihilation of bottom-placed Royal Eagles. The Capetonians host Jomo Cosmos who are in the relegation zone. Last week, they let slip a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to JDR Stars. Back the hosts to emerge victorious.
Saturday 1 February
Free State Stars 28/10
Ajax Cape Town 9/10
This could have a been a PSL clash two years ago with two teams with big reputations crossing swords. Ajax are riding the crest of the GladAfrica Championship wave and will be looking to steer clear of Uthongathi and Steenberg who had a chance to get closer to them in midweek. It remains to be seen how players react to coach Andries Ulderink’s announcement that he is returning to Holland at the end of the season.
Free State Stars should be glad they have no Nedbank Cup games to look forward to and they still have a slight chance of gaining promotion as they are six points adrift of third place. Ea Lla Koto are unbeaten in their last seven league games with four wins and three draws. I’m tipping the visitors to do the unthinkable here are beat the Urban Warriors.
JDR Stars 15/20
Richards Bay 33/10
JDR Stars showed great character when they came back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 against Jomo Cosmos the last time out while Richards Bay ground out a 1-0 victory at home against Tshakhuma, denying them a chance to climb back into the top three. This is a game between two inconsistent teams and it can go either way, but I’ll lean towards the home side since they are having a slightly better season than the hosts. I’ll take my chance with a JDR win.
Mbombela United 13/10
TS Sporting 2/1
Both teams are hovering above the relegation zone and a win for either side would make a huge difference. TS Sporting have won one of their last five games while Mbombela are winless in the same period. This will be a cagey affair – a low scoring draw is on the cards.
Real Kings 6/10
This is a KZN derby between Royal Eagles’ Sbu Mpisane and his ex-wife Shawn Mpisane who now owns Real Kings which makes it a rivalrous clash. Kings held their own against promotion-chasing Uthongathi the last time out and managed to hold them to a goalless draw. On the other hand, Eagles are rooted to the foot of the table with just three wins in their 19 games played this season. Everything points towards the Eagles collecting maximum points.
TS Galaxy 26/10
TS Galaxy are winless in their last four games with two draws and two defeats. They need to avoid being drawn into the relegation dogfight and they face a spirited Swallows side who lie fourth and could have a chance to sneak into the top three by the end of the gameweek depending on how the match between Uthongathi and Steenberg pans out. The Dube Birds have won five of their last six games which makes them the form team of the moment. The visitors should be triumphant here.
Sunday 2 February
University of Pretoria 13/10
After starting the season like a house on fire, University of Pretoria are enduring a terrible slump and they head into this encounter without a single victory in their last six games which has seen them plummet to eighth on the table. Tshakhuma’s four-match unbeaten run came to a halt last week when they lost 1-0 at Richards Bay but they should fancy their chances against an off-form opponent. I’m backing the visitors.
TREBLE @ 9/1
Free State Stars Win 28/10
JDR Stars Win 15/20
Real Kings Win 6/10
Written by Benedict Ngwenya for Hollywoodbets