Our football writer previews the final round of PSL action for the 2016/17 season.
Bidvest Wits are crowned ABSA Premiership champions, but there’s still plenty to play for in the final round of the season.
Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to secure three points against Highlands Park at the Makhulong Stadium. Victory for Pitso Mosimane’s side will see them finish above Cape Town City and retain their place in the CAF Champions League. The Lions of the North, however, must collect maximum points to stand a chance of avoiding relegation.
Orlando Pirates are in danger of suffering their worst-ever league campaign. The Buccaneers must win at Golden Arrows and hope for bottom-side Baroka to win at Ajax Cape Town, while overturning a (-5) goal difference over the Urban Warriors and pray results elsewhere go their way in hope of making the top eight.
The relegation dogfight is also far from over, with Bloem Celtic, Chippa United, Free State Stars, Highlands Park and Baroka all not safe from the drop. Baroka are rock bottom of the table with 25 points‚ with Highlands Park in the relegation play-off position with 26 points, while Bloem Celtic (28 points), Chippa United (27 points) and Free State Stars (27 points) nervously sit ahead of them.
Saturday 27 May
Ajax Cape Town 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Baroka FC 28/10
Ajax Cape Town are unbeaten in four matches with three wins, having kept clean sheets in all those games. They are unbeaten in five matches at the Cape Town Stadium, winning the last three, with the Urban Warriors targeting a fourth straight home win for the first time this season.
Stanley Menzo’s charges will be going all out to claim maximum points and secure a top-eight finish. Baroka have struggled in their debut season in the ABSA Premiership. Last season’s NFD champions have won just four times this season and are winless in six matches. The home win is tipped confidently.
Free State Stars 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Chippa United 23/10
Victory for either side will guarantee survival, while a draw could see Stars go down if Highlands Park miraculously beat Sundowns. Ea Lla Koto have improved in recent weeks, beating Bidvest Wits 3-1 and earning a goalless draw at Bloem Celtic.
Chippa United recorded a 3-0 win over SuperSport last Wednesday thanks to a hat-trick by Rhulani Manzini, ending a 13-match winless streak in the ABSA Premiership. Manzini also netted a brace to give Chippa a 2-1 win over Stars in the reverse tie. However, the Chilli Boys have been dreadful on the road this season, winning just once in 14 matches, suffering 10 defeats. Back Ea Lla Koto on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 1/4.
Golden Arrows 21/10 | Draw 21/10 | Orlando Pirates 13/10
Having played each other in the Nedbank Cup last weekend, Golden Arrows and Pirates will battle it out for maximum points to keep their hopes of finishing in the top eight alive. The Buccaneers also need bottom-side Baroka to win at Ajax, while Arrows could finish as high as seventh if Maritzburg lose at home to Bloem Celtic.
Abafana Bes’thende have won just once in their last seven matches in the ABSA Premiership, suffering four defeats. Kjell Jonevret’s side have won just twice on the road from 14 matches. A tight affair is expected with the teams tipped to share the spoils.
Highlands Park 7/2 | Draw 23/10 | Mamelodi Sundowns 8/10
After losing the ABSA Premiership title to Bidvest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns will look to secure a second-place finish. Pitso Mosimane’s side have struggled to find the winning formula in recent weeks, having won just once in the league from five matches this month.
The Brazilians will hope to end the campaign on a high but Highlands Park will be fighting for their top flight lives. Sundowns won the reverse tie 5-0 in November and they’re tipped to come away with maximum points.
Kaizer Chiefs 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Bidvest Wits 23/10
Bidvest Wits really needed a slip up from Sundowns or they would have needed to win this game. There’s nothing at stake in this tie as Chiefs have missed out on an opportunity to play in a CAF tournament, while Gavin Hunt’s side have been crowned PSL kings.
We can still expect an exciting match as the Clever Boys will want to end their title-winning season in style, while Amakhosi look to spoil the party. Steve Komphela’s side are winless in five matches, suffering three defeats – including two on the bounce. Wits have won five of their last six matches, keeping clean sheets in all those wins. The champions are tipped to pick up three points.
Maritzburg United 19/20 | Draw 23/10 | Bloem Celtic 28/10
Victory for Maritzburg United will secure their highest ever top-flight finish as they could finish as high as sixth if Polokwane lose at home to Cape Town City. Regardless, the result will guarantee a top-eight finish and underline the progress and improvement that have been made.
The Team of Choice are unbeaten in their last five matches at the Harry Gwala Stadium, winning four times. Bloem Celtic need to win this tie to be safe from relegation, but having gone eight matches without a win in the ABSA Premiership doesn’t bode well. My money’s on Maritzburg.
Polokwane City 14/10 | Draw 2/1 | Cape Town City 2/1
Cape Town City have done enough to qualify for next season’s CAF Confederation Cup, but Eric Tinkler’s charges will be hoping for maximum points and Sundowns to slip up to overtake them for a place in the CAF Champions League. Even if the Brazilians win, City can be proud of their debut campaign in the ABSA Premiership.
Polokwane City are guaranteed a top-eight finish as they sit in sixth position on 40 points, five ahead of ninth-placed Golden Arrows. Rise and Shine have won three of their last four home games, while Cape Town City have lost back-to-back away matches. Tinkler’s side won the reverse tie 2-0 in August, but with home advantage, Polokwane are tipped to earn a point.
SuperSport United 11/10 | Draw 22/10 | Platinum Stars 5/2
Platinum Stars face an uphill battle of finishing in the top eight as they have to win at SuperSport, while they depend on other results to go their way. Matsatsantsa will be seeking revenge as Robert Ng’ambi gave Dikwena a 1-0 win in August, while Stuart Baxter will want to sign off in style before taking up his role at Bafana Bafana.
SuperSport are unbeaten in their last three games at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. Following back-to-back draws against Kaizer Chiefs and Bloem Celtic, Baxter’s side ran out 4-2 winners against Cape Town City. Platinum Stars are winless in their last five away matches, suffering three defeats. The home win is the way to go.
Written by Doctor’s Orders @Hollywoodbets