Absa Premiership

Title race – you snooze, you lose

2017-04-16 06:10
CONTENDER: Gavin Hunt’s Bidvest Wits will have to prove their credentials. (Themba Makofane)

Johannesburg - The summit of the Absa Premiership might change hands again this week – and it may not be for the last time as more twists and turns are expected in the run-up to the championship.

The top position has seen four teams – Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United, Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs – exchange the top spot.

Of the five title contenders, only Mamelodi Sundowns have not occupied the position because they have been playing catch-up matches.

Title eliminator

However, after their 5-0 demolition of SuperSport United on Thursday evening, those who have already ruled them out of contention do so at their peril.

Despite dropping 12 points recently, the Brazilians showed they should still be counted among the favourites to lift the championship.

Next week’s fixtures could well be called elimination matches as the top sides play against each other.

Not long ago, a fixture between City and Wits would not have been regarded as a title eliminator, but this is what it has come to, with both sides in the race for top honours.

City host the Students on Wednesday in a top-of-the-table clash at Cape Town Stadium and hope to complete a double over Gavin Hunt’s men.

The Capetonians won the first-round match 3-2.

Eric Tinkler’s boys have installed themselves as title favourites with some glittering performances this season.

Wits, fresh from their trip to Egypt, where they played Smouha on Friday, will have to show their title credentials in this fixture if they are to be taken as serious contenders.

Although they have key players nursing injuries and racing against time to be fit for the tie – James Keene (hamstring), Daine Klate (thigh), Xola Mlambo (hamstring), Granwald Scott (thigh), Nazeer Allie (broken toe) – they still have enough weapons in their arsenal to see them through.

City’s 4-2 victory over Platinum Stars on Thursday saw them overtake the Students to the top spot once more.

So there is everything to play for as the Clever Boys’ win will see them overtaking City at the top, while the Cape side will want to widen the gap.

Title race

City captain Lebogang Manyama will hope to get back to his scoring ways after going four matches without a goal.

He had one goal less than top scorer Tendai Ndoro, who was on 12, before this weekend’s round of matches.

Another intriguing fixture is the second Tshwane derby in less than a week. After what happened on Thursday, when Downs hammered United 5-0, supporters should brace themselves for another cracker.

Both sides are still in the title race and know a victory would go a long way in their race.

United will be gunning for revenge after they suffered their heaviest defeat in the PSL era.


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Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Mamelodi Sundowns v Free State Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 19:30
Friday, 23 February 2018
Maritzburg United v Platinum Stars, Harry Gwala Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 24 February 2018
Baroka FC v Polokwane City, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
Cape Town City FC v Wits, Athlone Stadium 18:00
Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United, Lucas Moripe Stadium 18:00
Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic, FNB Stadium 20:15
Free State Stars v AmaZulu FC, Goble Park 20:15
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The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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