The Absa Premiership has entered the last stage – the most interesting and where upsets are usually aplenty – with most teams now left with eight or seven games.
Some are in a bitter relegation escape battle; others are jostling for places in the top eight while a few are galloping to hit the finish line first. This makes for exciting games and edge-of-their seat kinds of performances.
Phakaaathi writer Sibongiseni Gumbi takes a look at what to look out for in the Absa Premiership this weekend:
Will AmaZulu surprise Chiefs?
On paper, AmaZulu are like the biblical sacrificial lamb going into their match against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday night. The KwaZulu-Natal side are rooted to the bottom of the standings and, with recent developments in the side this week where the coach Jozef Vukusic was summarily suspended and Ayanda Dlamini installed as interim coach, it looks like a mountain too high for Usuthu to climb successfully. Amakhosi are on a high coming off a big win in the Soweto derby and they are top of the standings. But the Naturena-based side are fallible, especially when they are expected to have a walkover of some sorts.
Will Mhango get back to scoring ways and extend his tally?
The Orlando Pirates striker looked on his way to having a respectable tally – a first after so many years – as he quickly got to double digits, especially after the arrival of Josef Zinnbauer. But the Malawian international has not scored since February 1. He last scored in a 2-1 win at Chippa United with a brace to take his tally to 14. He then missed the Nedbank Cup loss to Wits due to suspension and did not score against Black leopards and Kaizer Chiefs. But he has another chance to get his scoring run back on track when they meet Golden Arrows in Durban on Saturday evening.
Will Akpeyi build on good performance against Bucs or flop again?
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi earned his Man-of-the-Match award in last weekend’s Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates with his unbelievable saves. But he has always been known to be the man for big occasions and sometimes struggles in non or less pressure games. He lost the trust of the Amakhosi faithful with a blunder recently against Maritzburg United that led to the first goal in the 2-1 defeat. This weekend Amakhosi host lowly AmaZulu in a match with less pressure on the Naturena side. The question now is will Akpeyi keep his alertness or just laze around and be caught flat-footed yet again?
Will Wits beat home ground ‘bad luck’ and beat Mokwena’s Chilli Boys?
Gavin Hunt’s team have a bad record at home this season as wins have been hard to come by. But with the distractions of the CAF Confederation Cup campaign now gone, the Students are left to fight on just one front and they should start picking up points if they are to mount a serious challenge for the title, which looks firmly in Kaizer Chiefs’ hands for now. They meet a rejuvenated Chilli Boys whose players will be looking to impress their new boss Rulani Mokwena.
Maritzburg or Polokwane to continue winning run…
Maritzburg are on a three-game winning streak ahead of Friday night’s game against Polokwane City, who have also won two in a row. Based on recent form, one should fall at the Harry Gwala Stadium. Both are coached by mentors who are well versed in local football and conditions. City will find it hard at the Blue Hearts’ slaughterhouse but Clinton Larsen could spring a surprise and come out with a win.
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