Cape Town – Separated by all of 34 points, it’s a case of “top meets bottom” in the Absa Premiership on Thursday as Kaizer Chiefs lock horns with AmaZulu.
Mind you, the game is suddenly no walkover on paper for Chiefs, as Usuthu are on a spirited run and without defeat since February 24.
But it doesn’t stop five of our tipsters from fancying the top dogs to only entrench their position.
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 poor souls are floundering: three points for fully correct scoreline, one for right result.
Here’s our next group of spiciest picks ...
1. Black Aces v Mamelodi Sundowns, Wednesday 19:30, Mbombela Stadium
The defending champions are certainly doing their damnedest to apply late heat to Kaizer Chiefs in the title race. Sundowns enter this Lowveld clash on a three-game winning streak, in which both attack and defence have purred like the proverbial Rolls-Royce engine – the “goals for” tally in the trot is 10, whilst it is zero goals conceded. Against humdrum Aces, who come off two 2-1 losses and one 2-1 victory, the Brazilians must fancy another three points, though most of us see it occurring just by the odd goal in a pretty competitive scrap.
Rob’s tip: 0-1
2. Orlando Pirates v Platinum Stars, Wednesday 19:30, Orlando Stadium
Stars surrendered the first-round meeting by a clear-cut 2-0 margin, so there’s no special reason to believe they will prosper in the away return fixture, especially as they are marooned in lower mid-table with not a whole heap to play for before season’s end. Only Tashreeq believes the Buccaneers will fail to scoop all three points, even if their best bet from here is probably to strike for second-placed finish rather than top – arch-rivals the AmaKhosi just seem too far ahead at the top with an 11-point cushion over Pirates and games fast running out.
3. Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu, Thursday 19:00, Peter Mokaba Stadium
Give great credit to the KwaZulu-Natalians: they are fighting with all the tools they can muster to stave off the drop. Likely for so long to land with the wooden spoon, they suddenly have a good crack at climbing two or three slots to safety if they can keep current momentum (three wins, two draws since last setback). But tackling Chiefs at one of their “homes away from home” in Polokwane is still no easy ask ... and the Soweto giants appeared to banish a jittery spell by thumping Swallows 3-0 last time out in the league. A bit more of the same? I reckon so.
52 - Earl
47 - Wade
46 - Garrin & Tashreeq
43 - Maano
42 - Ray
40 - Rob