Our football analyst previews the NFD Week Eight action which kicks off on Saturday 20 October 2018.
In a dramatic turn of events, Benson Mhlongo’s TS Sporting became the sixth NFD team to claim top spot on the log with seven weeks completed this season. Stellenbosch and Ajax Cape Town are in hot pursuit as their lie second and third respectively while Ubuntu Cape Town are rooted to the foot of the table having only collected one point out of a possible 21.
To give you an idea of how congested it is at the top, the difference between the top-placed team and Jomo Cosmos who occupy the seventh spot is two points. Let us give you predictions for the upcoming matches.
*Please note that NFD games kick off time has changed from 15:00 to 15:30.
Saturday 20 October
Ajax Cape Town 7/20
Ubuntu Cape Town 7/1
Grant Margeman’s 66th minute strike was enough to hand Ajax Cape Town a 1-0 victory over TS Galaxy the last time out. As expected, the Urban Warriors are now third on the log and only one point off the pace. They’ll relish an opportunity to play the struggling, bottom-placed team.
Ubuntu Cape Town are rooted to the foot of the table and they’re the only winless team in the league so far, having lost six and drawn one of their first seven games. This will be a stern test against one of promotion contenders. It makes sense to back Ajax here.
Real Kings 33/10
Collins Mbesuma, Lebohang Mokoena and Themba Mavundla were all on target as Maccabi thrashed embattled Ubuntu Cape Town 3-0 the last time out. Coach Mokete Tsotetsi has added more invaluable experience to his side by signing former Ajax Cape Town midfield anchor Ndiviwe Mdabuka.
Real Kings finally registered their first win of the season when they beat Royal Eagles 1-0 in the KZN derby but they’re still in the relegation zone as their goal difference is inferior to Witbank Spurs’. I think an experienced Maccabi side will win at home.
Royal Eagles 1/1
TS Galaxy 28/10
Royal Eagles have had an indifferent start to the season with a record of two wins, two draws and three defeats. They will be looking to make amends to their shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Real Kings.
TS Galaxy is another team that is in desperate need of positive results as they’ve only won one match so far this season. Coach Dan “Dance” Malesela bemoaned poor finishing which has let the team down. Put your money on a share of the spoils.
TS Sporting 14/10
Benson Mhlongo’s TS Sporting currently top the NFD standings by a single point and their defence has been the main secret behind their success. After losing their opener, they have remained unbeaten ever since with Oscarine “Puskas” Masuluke keeping six consecutive clean sheets.
On the other hand, a victory for second-placed Stellenbosch will see them leapfrog their opponents into first place. The Stellies were superb against Witbank Spurs, running out 3-1 victors. I’m leaning towards a TS Sporting win.
Mbombela United 39/20
Tshakhuma suffered their first defeat of the season when they lost 1-0 at University of Pretoria and that saw them pummel to sixth on the log, however, they are only two points off the pace which will give them confidence going into this game.
Their opponents, in the shape of Mbombela, have the same number of points and they only lie fourth due to superior goal difference. This will be a tightly-contested encounter and I think home ground advantage will be the difference. I say Tshakhuma win this one.
Jomo Cosmos 27/20
University of Pretoria 7/4
Jomo Cosmos centre back Grigorii Grishin is unavailable for selection due to injury but his fellow defender who operates mainly as a left-back but can play centrally, Riaan Hanamub shone for his native Namibia as they downed Mozambique 2-1 in AFCON qualifiers.
Ezenkosi are one of the four teams that are two points adrift of the top spot. They are unbeaten in the last six games. Just like their opponents, AmaTuks are also on 12 points and they will be looking not to lose ground on other early pace setters. University of Pretoria handed Tshakhuma their first defeat of the season when they beat them 1-0. I’m predicting a Cosmos win.
Sunday 21 October
Richards Bay 14/10
This should be an enthralling KZN derby with the difference between the two teams being one point. Uthongathi who are just above their opponents head into this one without their top scorer, Siyabonga Vilane who got sent off in their 1-0 loss to TS Sporting. The hosts have been inconsistent this season as they have lost three and won three of their seven games this season. It’s likely for the sides to cancel each other out.
Cape Umoya United 13/10
Witbank Spurs 2/1
It’s not looking good for Roger De Sa’s Cape Umoya who lost 1-0 to Jomo Cosmos and are now 11th on the log. They will fancy their chances against a side that is on the wrong end of the table in the form of 14th-placed Witbank Spurs who head into this one off the back of a five-match losing streak. The hosts should win this one.
TREBLE @ 9/2
Tshakhuma Win 13/10
Ajax Win 7/20
Maccabi Win 17/20