Our soccer analyst previews the NFD Week 23 action which kicks off on Saturday 3 March 2018.
As I’ve been saying over the past couple of weeks, matches involving Highlands Park are becoming very easy to call as they’re brushing aside every NFD opponent they meet. The runaway leaders have now opened up an 11-point gap at the summit of the standings and mark my words, the upcoming fixture against Mbombela will be another convincing victory. On the wrong end of the table, Ubuntu Cape Town have finally moved off the bottom of the log. Let me give you betting tips on the upcoming Week 23 fixtures.
Saturday 3 March
Ubuntu Cape Town 11/10
Mthatha Bucks 24/10
Ubuntu Cape Town registered their first win in five outings last week, thumping University of Pretoria 3-1. That has seen them climb up to 14th on the log. The match against the new table anchors presents a golden opportunity for them to steer clear of relegation.
Mthatha Bucks who are on a three-match winless run have now plummeted to the foot of the table and shall be very interesting to see how they approach this six-pointer at the Mother City. My money is on the home side.
Cape Town All Stars 15/10
With all due respect, Uthongathi’s 1-0 defeat against the rampant Highlands Park juggernaut was to be expected. The Cane Cutters are now only two points above bottom-placed Bush Bucks. This is a must-win game at home. Cape Town All Stars are unbeaten in their last eight league games.
After giving Mamelodi Sundowns a run for their money in a Nedbank Cup match which they only lost 1-0, Igugu Lekapa followed that up with a convincing 3-1 win over title-contending Tshakhuma and a goalless draw with Super Eagles. My heart says Uthongathi, but my mind is telling me to put my money on the visitors.
Witbank Spurs 21/10
Highlands Park 12/10
This is Spurs’ biggest test in recent weeks as they’re on a four-match unbeaten run. Siyavutha beat struggling Richards Bay 2-1 to move themselves to within three points of promotion places. They really need to dig deep though if they’re to get something out of this clash against the log leaders.
Peter Shalulile’s stoppage time winner was enough to give the log leaders a 1-0 win over Uthongathi. The Lions of the North have now gone 17 league games without tasting defeat and they’re 11 points clear at the summit. I’m tipping Highlands Park to win.
Sunday 4 March
Black Leopards 17/20
Super Eagles 3/1
Black Leopards’ Mwape Musonda who has scored five goals in 2018 couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Bush Bucks defence last week in a match that ended goalless. Joel Masutha’s men are three points behind third-placed Real Kings.
Super Eagles managed to hold resurgent Cape Town All Stars to a goalless draw. The Free State-based outfit is in danger of being drawn into the relegation dogfight as they currently have 23 points and that’s only three-points above bottom-placed Mthatha Bucks. Back the home win here.
Mbombela United 13/10
Jomo Cosmos 2/1
Mbombela conceded two first half goals against Tshakhuma which saw them lose 2-1 and also lose ground on the promotion-chasing pack. Lack of consistency has been their main downfall as they have lost won nine and lost the same amount of games so far this season. We’re all wondering which side will pitch up against Ezenkosi.
Meanwhile, Jomo Cosmos have ended their six-match winless run with a credible 2-1 victory over Stellenbosch. They are now only two points behind third-placed Real Kings and that has made promotion chase very interesting. My money is on Ezenkosi.
Richards Bay 18/10
University of Pretoria 15/10
Richards Bay have been dreadful over the last couple of weeks as they’re currently enduring a five-match winless run. However, they’re unbeaten in the last three matches at home. The New Rich Boyz will definitely fancy their chances against the visitors.
University of Pretoria are one of the most inconsistent sides in the league as they have won eight and lost the same amount of games so far. They’ve only won two away games this season. This is a brave call but I’m tipping KZN outfit.
Royal Eagles 2/1
Mame Niang’s experience came to the fore for Royal Eagles as his solitary goal claimed maximum points in the KZN derby against Real Kings. In a desperate effort to return the team to competitiveness, new coach, Roger Sikhakhane has signed former Bidvest Wits striker Ryan Chapman, ex-Orlando Pirates winger Mpho Mvelase and Ghana international Victor Bokah.
Tshakhuma are among the promotion play-off favorites as they occupy second place after their 2-1 victory over Mbombela United. Experienced striker, Carlington Nyadombo was among the goalscorers. This is another tough match to call but I think Tshakhuma edge it.
Real Kings 2/1
Stellenbosch couldn’t hold onto their 1-0 lead last week against Jomo Cosmos and allowed Ezenkosi to come back and win the match 2-1. This will be another tough test against a promotion-chasing side which is known for playing defensively.
Real Kings suffered only their third defeat of the season last week when they succumbed 1-0 to Royal Eagles in the KZN derby. The Magic Boys have confirmed that Michelle Katsvairo is training with the team as they’re looking to solve their goalscoring problems. Get on Kings to win this one.
Ubuntu Cape Town Win 11/10
Cape Town All Stars Win 15/10
Highlands Park Win 12/10