Our football pundit previews the NFD week 24 action which kicks off on Saturday 17 March 2018.
After a week’s break due to the Nedbank Cup Round of 16 action, the NFD is back with some enthralling encounters in store. As I’ve always been saying recently, it’s easy to make money on Highlands Park as they’re unbeaten in the league since gameweek five. The runaway leaders host Mbombela United on Saturday night.
Elsewhere, Ubuntu Cape Town who stunned AmaZulu in the Nedbank Cup last week have a tricky assignment against Jomo Cosmos. Check out my predictions and betting tips.
Saturday 17 March
Highlands Park 6/10
Mbombela United 9/2
Sitting comfortably at the top of the standings, Highlands Park are unbeaten in the last 18 league games and the last time out they proved to0 strong for Witbank Spurs, smashing them 3-0 on their own turf. The Lions of the North are 12 points clear of second-placed Real Kings.
Mbombela finally returned to winning ways last time out when they beat Jomo Cosmos 2-0. They are very inconsistent as they have a record of 10 wins and 9 defeats so far this season. My money is on the hosts.
Mthatha Bucks 14/10
It’s all going south for Bush Bucks as they remain rooted at the foot of the table and head into this match on the back of a four-match winless run. A win for Amatholamnyama could see them go level on points with their opponents.
Uthongathi have to avoid defeat at all costs as they could find themselves at the bottom of the log by the end of the match. The Cane Cutters are winless in the last five games. This should be a cagey affair and a stalemate is the most likely result.
Real Kings 11/10
Black Leopards 5/2
Real Kings are having a great season as the occupy second place which could give them a chance to participate in the PSL promotional play offs. They showed a great deal of mental strength the last time out, bouncing back from the KZN derby defeat to Royal Eagles by grinding out a 2-1 victory at Stellenbosch.
After a slow start to the season, Black Leopards have remarkably turned their fortunes around. Lidoda Duvha are now fourth on the log and they’re unbeaten in the last five matches. This shall be a game of games between two promotion-chasing sides as the difference between them is just three points. I’m backing Real Kings to triumph at home.
Super Eagles 14/10
Royal Eagles 18/10
Big news coming out of Free State this week was that Super Eagles have appointed a new head coach in the shape of former Mthatha Bucks mentor, Ian Palmer to rescue their disastrous season. The Bethlehem-based side is second from the bottom and is winless in the recent six league matches.
Royal Eagles head into this one having slayed two giants that are in the top three in their recent league games. They beat Real Kings 1-0 and overcame Tshakhuma 2-0, however, the KZN outfit were disappointing against 10-men Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup last week, losing 2-1. I think Eagles will emerge victoriously.
Richards Bay 4/1
Tshakhuma fans should be delighted that players who were on strike due to pay disputes, including Themba Ndlovu who joined the club in December after starring for Varsity Football finalists Tshwane University of Technology with seven goals and four assists, are back in training as everything have been resolved. TTM are third on the log and will be hoping to return to winning ways after losing to Royal Eagles the last time out.
Richards Bay shocked the whole country when they snapped their five-match winless run in the league by beating University of Pretoria 1-0. The New Rich boys lost 3-1 to Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup last week. Get on TTM to win comfortably at home.
University of Pretoria 13/10
Witbank Spurs 2/1
Shaun Bartlett’s University of Pretoria are winless in three games and they are now six points off promotion places. If you look at the quality of teams above them, they should start getting used to the idea of kissing their promotion hopes goodbye.
Witbank Spurs have made some significant changes to their coaching staff. Siyavutha chairman Themba Mafu made a switch from head coach to technical director, as former Mbombela coach Vusi Mkhatshwa took over the coaching reins. They have also signed former Baroka captain Olaleng Shaku who was dismissed by his former club alongside coach Kgoloko Thobejane for drinking in the team bus but it looks like they were not aware that he won’t be eligible to play until the end of the season. Back Tuks to win or draw.
Sunday 18 March
Cape Town All Stars 1/1
This will be a scintillating iKapa derby with both teams having been knocked out of the Nedbank Cup over the last few weeks by Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs by a one-goal margin. Cape Town All Stars have drawn seven and won two of their last nine league matches.
On the other hand, after Stellenbosch’s 2-1 Nedbank Cup defeat to Kaizer Chiefs, coach Steve Barker made it very clear that their focus is now fully on the league. They are six points off play-off spots and the best option is to do well in their remaining seven games and hope for the best. This is a tough one to call but I’ll just back Stellies.
Jomo Cosmos 9/10
Ubuntu Cape Town 28/10
Jomo Cosmos have received a huge boost as ace winger, Silas “Shorty” Maziya returned to training on Wednesday after more than a month out on the sidelines. EzeNkosi have also signed Nigerian midfielder Kizito Chinonye Obi and Tanzanian striker Ismail Mohamed Mgunda.
Ubuntu Cape Town have won three successive games, including a sizzling 3-2 victory over AmaZulu in the Nedbank Cup last Friday, since the appointment of American coach Casey Prince. The momentum is with Ubuntu hence I’m tipping them.
TREBLE @ 12/1
Highlands Park 6/10
Real Kings 11/10
Ubuntu Cape Town 28/10