Our football analyst previews the NFD Week Nine action which kicks off on Saturday 26 October 2019.
The GladAfrica Championship log is starting to shape up with other teams having played their catch-up games. Uthongathi top the standings having played a game less than second-placed JDR Stars and third-placed Ajax Cape Town. Speaking of Uthongathi, they host Richards Bay in an eagerly-anticipated KZN derby. This is how we think this weekend’s games will pan out.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Cape Umoya United 12/10
Royal Eagles 22/10
Cape Umoya United have started the season slowly and they’re currently three spots above the relegation zone where embattled Royal Eagles are. Family politics which saw Shauwn Mpisane alongside some staff members leave her husband Sbu Mpisane at Eagles to take over Real Kings have left the team in a precarious situation with some players complaining about salaries. It remains to be seen how the new management will handle the club matters. I’d put my money on the home win.
Mbombela United 15/10
Steenberg United 17/10
Mbombela head into this one off the back of three consecutive defeats and they lie one spot below their opponents who occupy 10th place. Steenberg have been inconsistent with three wins and four defeats so far this season and we don’t know which team will pitch up on the day. I foresee this ending in a stalemate.
Real Kings 11/10
Free State Stars 23/10
Real Kings have finally returned to winning ways after enduring a four-match winless run! The Magic Boys beat Richards Bay 2-1 in a tightly-contested KZN derby. On the other hand, Free State Stars have been a bit convincing in recent weeks with a formidable record of two wins and a draw in the last three games. This could be another draw.
JDR Stars 18/10
Tshakhuma are without a single victory in their last four league games and they come up against a JDR side that is yet to taste defeat in their debut season. The rookies have won four and drawn four of their eight games so far in the second tier of South African football. They were held to a 1-1 draw by TS Galaxy last week which saw them relinquish top spot to red, hot Uthongathi. The visitors have a bit of momentum and they should win this one.
TS Sporting 26/10
Ajax Cape Town 19/20
TS Sporting are flirting with relegation as they are one spot above the drop zone with their only win so far this season coming last week against bottom-placed Jomo Cosmos. They come up against promotion-contending Ajax Cape Town who seek redemption after suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of struggling Swallows. Ajax might be playing away from home, but they should be too strong for their opponents. Put your money on the Urban Warriors.
Richards Bay 5/2
Princess Magogo Stadium will be jam packed as the enticing KZN derby takes centre stage. A win for Uthongathi means they maintain their lead at the summit of the standings while a win for the Natal Rich Boys could possibly mean breaking into the top three.
The Cane Cutters’ Menzi Ndwandwe and Pule Mmodi have been impressive in front of goal with four and three goals respectively while the visitors will look to Devon Saal who has three goals to his name so far this season. This is a tricky game to call but I’ll back the hosts.
Saturday 26 October
Jomo Cosmos 18/10
Jomo Cosmos have been the whipping boys of the league with one game so far this season which has seen them drop to the bottom of the log. Swallows have recently announced the signing of youngsters Siphelele Ndlovu and Simphiwe Tshabalala, not to be confused with the Kaizer Chiefs legend, to blend with experienced Lebogang Mokoena, Vuyo Mere & Virgil Vries. Neither of these teams have impressed me so far and I think they will cancel each other out.
TREBLE @ 10/1
Uthongathi Win 1/1
JDR Stars Win 18/10
Ajax Win 19/20
Written by Benedict Ngwenya