Absa Premiership

Surprise package Polokwane top Absa Prem table

2019-09-23 08:24
Rodney Ramagalela of Polokwane City (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A stoppage-time goal by Zambian Salulani Phiri sealed a 3-1 victory for Polokwane City over SuperSport United this weekend, and top spot in the South African Absa Premiership.

It is an unfamiliar position for the club from the north of the republic, who survived a relegation battle two seasons ago before surprisingly finishing fifth last term.

Eastern European coaches have worked wonders with a star-less squad as Slovak Jozef Vukusic was in charge last season and when he unexpectedly quit, Serb Zlatko Krmpotic took over.

The 61-year-old former Red Star Belgrade defender coached clubs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Botswana and Rwanda before joining Polokwane.

Krmpotic is a media-shy coach who neatly sidestepped the fact that a team which cost little to assemble are the league leaders.

"We have more depth in the squad now and I am proud that we defeated strong opponents in SuperSport United," he said.

In a team captained by 37-year-old midfielder Jabulani Maluleke, the best known player internationally is Ghanaian Mohammed Anas.

But when an interview involving the Accra-born forward went viral two years ago, it had nothing to do with football.

After receiving a Premiership man-of-the-match award while playing for Free State Stars, Anas publicly thanked "his wife and his girlfriend" for their support.

Huge embarrassment

Amid huge embarrassment, the west African later claimed he was referring to his daughter when he said "girlfriend".

Anas played the entire match against SuperSport in Polokwane, but was not among the scorers with the other City goals coming from Nicholas Motloung and Puleng Tlolane.

SuperSport, who lie seventh five points behind the leaders, had former Zimbabwe defender Onismor Bhasera red-carded when trailing 1-0 just before half-time.

Bidvest Wits, a Johannesburg club who in 2017 were crowned champions for the first time, 96 years after being formed, are one point behind Polokwane in second spot.

They edged Orlando Pirates 4-3 in a thriller that was a home fixture for Wits, but which they staged 570 kilometres from their 5 000-capacity ground.

Absa Premiership officials have barred Wits from hosting Pirates and other major crowd-pulling clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns for safety reasons.

The switch to Durban was a success, on and off the field, with a 20 000-plus crowd giving Wits a much bigger financial reward than had they played the match in Johannesburg.

A half-volley from Cole Alexander on 69 minutes, which gave Wits the lead a third time, was the pick of several brilliant goals.

Read more on:    polokwane city  |  absa premiership  |  soccer


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Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Mamelodi Sundowns v AmaZulu, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 19:30
Highlands Park v Wits, Makhulong Stadium 19:30
Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Orlando Stadium 19:30
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Stellenbosch v Kaizer Chiefs, Cape Town Stadium 19:30
Bloemfontein Celtic v Cape Town City, Dr Molemela Stadium 19:30
Maritzburg United v SuperSport United, Harry Gwala Stadium 19:30
Chippa United v Black Leopards, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 19:30
Baroka FC v Golden Arrows, Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Saturday, 30 November 2019
Polokwane City v Bloemfontein Celtic, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
Cape Town City v Highlands Park, Cape Town Stadium 18:00
Black Leopards v Golden Arrows, Thohoyandou Stadium 18:00
SuperSport United v Stellenbosch, Lucas Moripe Stadium 20:15
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The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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