Our football pundit previews the NFD week 27 action which kicks off on Saturday 14 April 2018.
It’s confirmed, Highlands Park have sealed PSL promotion and the next four games will require a great deal of professionalism and mental strength for the players to remain competitive. The Lions of the North will only be handed the trophy on the final day of the season against Stellenbosch but this week they’re once again expected to claim a runaway victory as they face bottom-placed Mthatha Bucks. Teams like Black Leopards, Jomo Cosmos, Real Kings and Witbank Spurs are chasing the play-off spots, while six teams are involved in the relegation dogfight.
Saturday 14 April
Highlands Park 1/5
Mthatha Bucks 14/1
Highlands Park are on a seven-match winning streak and they last lost a league match in gameweek four. Owen Da Gama’s men smashed University of Pretoria 5-1 last week to secure PSL promotion with four matches to spare. Only complacency can stop them from beating the bottom-placed side convincingly.
By a way of contrast, Mthatha Bucks are winless in their last seven games and they’re now six points adrift of Super Eagles who occupy 15th place. Back a runaway victory for the hosts as they always win convincingly.
Mbombela United 13/10
All the recent five games for Mbombela were against sides that are above them on the log and they managed one win and two draws. They must have kissed their title hopes goodbye now as they’re nine points adrift of third-placed Jomo Cosmos.
Stellenbosch will be hoping to leapfrog their opponents by claiming a victory away from home. The Stellies are winless in their last six league games. My money is on the home side.
Richards Bay 12/10
Super Eagles 22/10
This is a crucial relegation six-pointer as Richards Bay are currently on 28 points and Super Eagles, who are in the relegation zone, are on 27 points. The New Rich Boyz drew 0-0 at the home of bottom-placed Mthatha Bucks last week.
Super Eagles has faced other relegation-threated teams over their last three matches, beating Royal Eagles 1-0, drawing 1-1 with Uthongathi and losing 3-0 to Ubuntu Cape Town last week. I’m backing Richards Bay to win at home.
Real Kings 33/20
Tshakhuma, who were once in the race for promotion, are now in sixth place after losing four consecutive games. Their four-match losing streak incudes defeats by embattled Royal Eagles and Richards Bay FC.
Real Kings head into this one on the back of two consecutive draws, and with two points separating them and second-placed Jomo Cosmos, they know there’s no margin for error. This is tough to call but I’m expecting Tshakhuma’s losing streak to continue.
University of Pretoria 14/10
Cape Town All Stars 18/10
University of Pretoria are winless in their last six league games and overall, they’ve won only eight of their 26 matches. Last week, they were thrashed 5-1 by high-flying Highlands Park which summed up their class compared to the promotion contenders. Cape Town All Stars are just two positions above their opponents and a defeat would put the sides level on points. I foresee this one ending with a share of the spoils.
Ubuntu Cape Town 2/1
Uthongathi have found themselves in the fight for survival after failing to register a win in their last two fixtures. The Cane Cutters followed up a 1-1 draw with Super Eagles by a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Black Leopards. They are now one spot above the relegation zone and this is a must-win game for them.
After crashing out of the Nedbank Cup, Ubuntu Cape Town seem to have full focus on surviving relegation. Last week, they beat Super Eagles 3-0 in a massive six-pointer to keep their hopes of staying in the NFD alive. My money is on a draw.
Sunday 15 April
Royal Eagles 5/2
Jomo Cosmos 11/10
Royal Eagles are one of the three teams that are on 28 points and fighting for survival is the order of the day. They are winless in three consecutive games and they come up against a Jomo Cosmos side that seeks promotion and currently lies in third place. By a way of contrast, the visitors are on a three-match winning streak. I’m expecting a Jomo Cosmos win.
Witbank Spurs 13/10
Black Leopards 2/1
Witbank Spurs have drawn 12 games so far in the current campaign which is the most by any NFD side this season. The hosts lie fifth and a win would put them level on points with their opponents who are currently second on the log. On the flip side, Lidoda Duvha have won four back-to-back matches heading into this encounter. I say Leopards emerge triumphant here.
TREBLE @ 11/2
Highlands Park Win 1/5
Real Kings Win 33/20
Jomo Cosmos Win 11/10