Our football writer previews the NFD Week Five action which kicks off on Saturday 22 September 2018.
Last week sprung a few surprises on us with Jomo Cosmos recording their first win of the season which turned out to be Maccabi FC’s first defeat in the NFD since they got promoted. Ajax Cape Town unexpectedly lost 1-0 to TS Sporting who were playing without coach Benson Mhlongo who has been put on special leave. Speaking of firsts, Cape Umoya United claimed their first maximum points in the NFD since they got relegated, beating Richards Bay FC 1-0 on Monday afternoon. Are we in for more surprises this week? Here are our predictions.
Saturday 22 September
Ajax Cape Town 15/20
This is a potentially scintillating clash of two sides that started well but suffered their first defeats of the season in the last gameweek. Ajax Cape Town succumbed 1-0 to rookies in the shape of TS Sporting while Maccabi conceded at the death to lose 1-0 to Jomo Cosmos who were winless prior to that encounter. Both sides are eager to return to winning ways and I think home ground advantage will be key. Ajax Cape Town should triumph.
Mbombela United 14/10
TS Sporting 22/10
Mbombela are still unbeaten in the current campaign with two draws and two wins. The guys from the Mpumalanga capital currently lie third which is a PSL play-off promotion spot and this week they host TS Sporting who played their previous game without their coach, Benson Mhlongo.
If rumours doing rounds are anything to go by, he’s been suspended for entertaining job offers from other teams. A coachless Sporting managed to record a 1-0 victory against Ajax who are among promotion favourites. The previous game proved that Sporting can be a banana skin and Mbombela will be wary of that threat. I foresee Mbombela collecting maximum points at home.
University of Pretoria 17/20
Royal Eagles 15/4
University of Pretoria are tied on eight points with second-placed Tshakhuma and third-placed Mbombela United but they top the NFD standings due to superior goal difference. They showed a great deal of fighting spirit last week when they came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against Witbank Spurs.
AmaTuks are still unbeaten in the current campaign and they face a side that is yet to win a game in the current campaign. This is a potentially one-sided clash and it makes sense to put your money on the home side.
Real Kings 13/10
TS Galaxy 47/20
Real Kings have surprisingly lost all their opening three games of the current campaign and that has seen them occupy bottom spot on the NFD table. TS Galaxy who are now under the tutelage of Dan Malesela are winless in their first four matches and they will be looking to take advantage of a side that is a bit rusty since their match against Uthongathi FC scheduled to take place last week was postponed. This match is likely to end in a draw.
Sunday 23 September
Jomo Cosmos 13/10
Richards Bay 23/10
Cosmos got their first win of the season last week when they beat Maccabi 1-0 courtesy of Tebogo Mabula’s 82nd minute strike. They’ve now collected five points in four games. On the other hand, Richards Bay lost their first match of the season on Monday afternoon, going 1-0 down to Cape Umoya United. The Natal Rich Boys now lie fourth on the log and one point off the pace. Back a Jomo Cosmos win.
Cape Umoya United 26/10
Tshakhuma who are among the title challengers were held to a 2-2 draw by Royal Eagles last week. Cape Umoya United picked up their first win of the season on Monday, with Mnguni’s thunderous strike from outside the box being enough to hand Roger De Sa’s men maximum points against Richards Bay FC. Tshakhuma have a great chance of returning to winning ways at home.
Ubuntu Cape Town 39/20
This Cape Town derby is expected to bring the whole city to a standstill as Ubuntu are fighting for survival. They’re currently placed second from the bottom while their crosstown rivals are only three places above them with three points being the difference.
Zakhele Lepasa, who is on loan from Orlando Pirates, made his debut for Stellenbosch against Mbombela United last week. The first NFD match at Idas Valley in the Cape Winelands was ruined by the 47th minute red card received by Lelethu Skelem which meant the Stellies had to hold on for dear life as they successfully managed a goalless draw. I’m tipping Stellenbosch to win this one.
Witbank Spurs 22/10
Uthongathi weren’t involved in NFD action last week as the tragic death of their chairman, Mr Nicholas Mkhize prompted the postponement of their game against Real Kings. They’re unbeaten in the three games they’ve played so far in the current campaign. Witbank Spurs relinquished a 1-0 lead against University of Pretoria to lose 2-1 and that was their second successive defeat. I think Uthongathi will this one at home.
Ajax Win 15/20
Mbombela Win 14/10
Real Kings vs TS Galaxy Draw 19/10