Cape Town – Stuart Baxter’s “hairdryer” to his charges after their stuttering draw with humble Platinum Stars should have the effect of seeing Kaizer Chiefs roar back to beat plucky little Chippa United, believe our tipsters.
Regularly during the PSL season, a panel made up of compiler Rob Houwing plus Garrin Lambley, Raymond Silinga, Earl Haupt, Wade Pretorius, Tashreeq Vardien and Maano Nekhavhambe will attempt to hit the right buttons in forecasting a bunch of the most attractive games on paper.
We will keep a season-long leaderboard showing who is prospering and which wretched souls are floundering: three points for wholly correct scoreline, one for right result.
Here’s our next group of spiciest picks ...
1. Maritzburg United v AmaZulu, Friday 20:00, Harry Gwala Stadium
OK, this game isn’t exactly a humdinger on paper at this point. But it’s a KZN derby nevertheless, and it’s not as though there’s little at stake for either side. The hosts are on a chequered run of league form (draw, win and loss in their last three games) but holding onto tidy fifth position so keen not to surrender that status. Of course AmaZulu are deep in the dwang at roughly the PSL halfway stage, with a pitiful one win from 13 games and seven points adrift of anyone else at the base of the table. If they’re going to work a survival miracle, that crusade must start smartly ... and I fancy they can earn a hard-fought draw in Pietermaritzburg. I’m a bit of a lone ranger in that call, though.
Rob’s tip: 1-1
2. Kaizer Chiefs v Chippa United, Saturday 18:00, Peter Mokaba Stadium
It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that despite that little wobbly against Platinum Stars, the Amakhosi remain in a blisteringly strong position to seize back the PSL title this year. Exactly midway through their fixtures, they are going to take some catching with their 11-point lead. You would also think that normal service, if you like, will resume as Chiefs host a Chippa side who cannot be under-estimated (they lie fourth) but come off a fairly thumping loss to Polokwane City. Now they’re forced back into that faraway neck of the woods as Baxter’s men have one of those “home away from home” fixtures. There’s massive belief here that they will bag three further points...
3. Orlando Pirates v Ajax Cape Town, Saturday 20:15, Orlando Stadium
Pirates fans must be pretty miffed with the state of affairs in Soweto: arch-rivals Chiefs riding unchallenged at the top and the Buccaneers languishing in a rather dismal (for them) ninth. This clash comes with both contestants in rather poor form, visitors Ajax CT have slipped down to fourth with only two points from their last nine and Pirates are also labouring with one from nine. A draw, which some of our panel envisage, really helps neither side so hopefully they’ll “go for it” and produce a goalmouth action-packed spectacle.
31 - Wade
26 - Earl
25 - Raymond & Tashreeq
24 - Maano
22 - Rob & Garrin