Johannesburg - Log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns’ title challenge faces a stern test in their next two games.
What’s important to them right now is the well-being of their most prized asset, Percy Tau. The Sundowns top scorer - seven goals so far - is still mourning the death of his brother, Mogau Tshehla of Polokwane City, who died in a car accident last week.
The team and its management rallied behind the striker and visited his family in Witbank, and coach Pitso Mosimane will be hoping Tau is in a good frame of mind when they take on Free State Stars on Wednesday at 19:30.
The Brazilians face a potential banana skin by Stars, who have nothing to lose going into the game.
The Free State side can have a say in the destination of the league title because a victory could make the race wide open.
Sundowns will face another big hurdle when they play against neighbours SuperSport United on Saturday at 18:00. United are fighting for survival and will need no motivation in the Tshwane derby.
Another derby is billed for Peter Mokaba Stadium, where Baroka FC face neighbours Polokwane City on Saturday at 15:30. Both sides have not been doing well and have slid down the log table.
If they do not start winning soon, City are in danger of being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
After their game against Bloemfontein Celtic was rescheduled after the death of their defender, City have had enough time to prepare for the derby. Their last outing was one to forget - they went down to National First Division (NFD) side Ubuntu Cape Town in the Nedbank Cup - and they will want to bounce back in front of their home supporters.
Baroka have had their own problems on and off the field. Coach Kgoloko Thobejane was suspended and good results are not forthcoming. The team got a morale boost when they carded a 1-0 victory over Platinum Stars in the Nedbank Cup and booked a place in the last 16.
With time running out for Platinum Stars to claw their way back into the race for survival, this week could determine their fate.
Stars, who are languishing at the bottom of the log, face two crucial games in the space of three days on Tuesday and Friday. The results will give an indication of whether they will stay in top flight football or go down to the NFD.
Stars welcome an equally struggling SuperSport United at Royal Bafokeng on Tuesday at 7.30pm, before visiting Maritzburg United on Friday at 20:00.
With five points adrift of Ajax Cape Town, who are second last on the log, Stars have a chance to not only close the gap, but also to overtake the Urban Warriors - provided they win the two games. But they have to score goals and decrease their goal difference if they want to stand a good a chance of survival.
Stars, with 13 goals, have scored the least number of goals in the season and conceded the second most at 27, one goal behind Baroka FC.
Scoring three goals in their previous encounter against Chippa United should give them confidence going into the final stretch.