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NFD: Week 23 Preview

Week 23 Preview

Our football guru previews the NFD Week 23 action which kicks off on Friday 8 March 2019.

We have a KZN derby on the menu this weekend as sixth-placed Uthongathi host fifth-placed Richards Bay in a massive six-pointer that will have serious repercussions in terms of who stands a better chance of challenging for a top four finish. That’s a potentially thrill-packed encounter but the one I’m putting my money on is between top-placed Stellenbosch and bottom-placed Real Kings. Who wouldn’t relish an opportunity to jump on that? Let’s predict this weekend’s NFD results.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Friday 8 March

Ajax Cape Town 13/20
Draw 5/2
TS Sporting 15/4
Ajax expectedly beat TS Galaxy 3-1 in a one-sided encounter which saw a new Urban Warrior, Kegan Johannes getting on the scoresheet. The Capetonians have now returned to third position on the log and they will be eager to stay there at this critical juncture.

TS Sporting are winless in their last four games with two wins and two draws and they will have their work cut out for them against a promotion-chasing team. My money is on the hosts.

Saturday 9 March 

Maccabi 13/10
Draw 2/1 
University of Pretoria 21
Maccabi’s shambolic form in recent weeks has seen them slide down to 11th on the table and they head into this encounter off the back of a six-match winless run. The team has deteriorated ever since Joel Masutha took over the coaching reigns despite signing some experienced players.

On the other hand, University of Pretoria have lost three and won two of their last five games and the difference between them and their opponents is three points. I’m backing a share of the spoils here.

Uthongathi 13/10
Draw 2/1
Richards Bay 2/1
Uthongathi are unbeaten in their last five matches with two wins and three draws. A win here would see the Cane Cutters leapfrog their opponents into fifth place which would be within touching distance of the top three positions.

Richards Bay have also been phenomenal in the league having managed to stay unbeaten in their last seven league games. It’s going to be a tightly-contested encounter that could go either way and my gut says Uthongathi will come out tops.

Witbank Spurs 15/10
Draw 2/1
TS Galaxy 2/1
Shakes Mashaba’s Witbank Spurs actually ruined my treble last week when they held top-placed Stellenbosch to a 1-1 draw. They come up against TS Galaxy side that seeks redemption after suffering a 3-1 drubbing at Ajax. This is an exciting Mpumalanga derby in which I think Spurs will record a fourth successive draw.

Sunday 10 March 

Jomo Cosmos 3/1
Draw 21/10
Royal Eagles 9/10
Jomo Cosmos have won only one of their last five games and to put things into perspective, they have won a total of only six games in 22 outings. Ezenkosi host second-placed Royal Eagles who don’t want to miss out on PSL promotional play-offs. The KZN side has won three of their last five games and they’re the ones that are likely to claim a victory here.

Mbombela United 1/1
Draw 21/10
Tshakhuma 5/2
A penalty awarded against Mbombela United saw them lose 1-0 to Richards Bay last week and they are now placed fourth on the log. Tingwenyama need to use these types of games to keep their chase for top three finish alive.

Edward Manqele’s solitary goal handed Tshakhuma a 1-0 win over University of Pretoria last week. TTM are four points behind their opponents and they head into the match knowing that they’re in a make of break situation. I think Mbombela will win at home.

Real Kings  5/4
Draw 11/4
Stellenbosch 5/10
It’s first vs last on the log and under normal circumstances, this should be an easy prediction! Stellenbosch have lost only three of their 22 league games so far this season. On the other hand, Real Kings have lost 11 and only won four. Logic dictates that you should banker Stellies.

Ubuntu Cape Town 12/10
Draw 2/1
Cape Umoya United 22/10
This is a game between two Cape Town sides that are marginally above the relegation zone. Gavin Hammers scored his first goal for Cape Umoya United when they drew 1-1 against embattled Jomo Cosmos. On the other hand, Ubuntu Cape Town beat struggling Maccabi 2-1. I can’t separate these two sides and I’m backing a draw.

TREBLE @ 4/1
Ajax Win 13/20
Mbombela Win 1/1
Stellenbosch Win 5/10

Written by @EggsBenedictZA

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