Football Action Back In Full Swing

Ending off the year on a high note

The conclusion of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar means the return of club football across the planet, and in Mzansi where the final weekend of the year packs some heavyweight encounters.

Pic – Steve Haag

Friday 30 December

Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates renew their rivalry when they clash at Loftus Versefeld.

Full preview here:

Stellenbosch 12/10 | Draw 17/10 | Chippa United 49/20

An opportunity for the Stellies to climb the log when they host Chippa United at the Danie Craven Stadium on Friday. They certainly need to improve their attack if they are to get anything from this fixture, having failed to convert their chances in their last two. Scoring is not an issue for Chippa United when they play away from home. They have netted in the last seven games they have played on the road, led by a goal-poacher of note in Godspower Ighodaro. Meanwhile, Stellenbosch have confirmed the departure of their own number 9 – Judas Moseamedi after 32 appearances and six goals. It is a close one to call, but Chippa United will snatch the win at 49/20.

Cape Town City 13/20 | Draw 19/10 | Royal AM 2/1 (17:30)

Royal AM’s leaky defence has conceded 18 goals and is one of the division’s worst this season. They will be tested once again when the talented Khanyisa Mayo and company welcome them to the DHL Stadium on Friday afternoon. But Cape Town City seem to have lost the charm which saw them finish in second place last season under Benni McCarthy. In 12 matches, they have equalled their number of defeats (5) obtained after 30 matches in the last campaign. They are also scoring far less and just aren’t displaying the attractive football we have come to like about their game. Both teams come into this one at the back of defeats suffered at the hands of Gallants and Mamelodi Sundowns but Royal AM will fancy getting a win and moving closer to the summit of the standings while City can salvage a draw at best. I don’t see many goals here. Get on the under 1.5 total goals at 31/20.

Maritzburg Utd 31/20 | Draw 39/20 | TS Galaxy 37/20 (19:30)

Maritzburg United haven’t won a league game since October. Having reappointed Fadlu Davids as head coach during the break, their battle to survive relegation gets underway when they host TS Galaxy on Friday. Davids’ main priority will be to get the Team of Choice scoring again, having failed to register a goal in four of their last five matches. Galaxy are unbeaten in their last two away encounters and can keep that momentum going with a victory against a struggling Maritzburg side with the worst defence in the division. But again – with one of the worst attacks in the league, Galaxy’s job won’t be as easy as they think, and they might grow frustrated in the game against United the longer they go without scoring. This is a clash between two sides in need of points and more desperate to stay in the DSTV premiership next season – so talking points will be aplenty and hopefully so will the goals. Hopefully Maritzburg to welcome back Fadlu Davids with a positive result. I’m on Martizburg United on the Double Chance at 7/20.

SuperSport UTD 1/1 | Draw 17/10 | Marumo Gallants 32/10 (19:30)

Another club looking to pick up where they left off before the break is SuperSport United. The Tshwane club lock horns with Marumo Gallants in the late kick-off. I have been impressed with Gavin Hunt’s men this season, particularly at home where they are currently unbeaten in six games. Even though their defensive record could be much better, Matsatsantsa always look like the team likely to score a goal and have good combinations on the pitch. For Gallants, things have not been that great in front of goal, with only eight scored so far. But they are a side that you can never write off – given Dan Masalesa’s experience in SA football. I tip them to score a goal on Friday, but SuperSport win. I’m SuperSport United to come away with the win here. 

31 December 2022

Richards Bay 21/20 | Draw 7/4 | Swallows 26/10 (15:30)

Richards Bay are without a doubt the surprise package of the 2022/23 DStv Premiership season with just two defeats from their opening 13 matches. They face a relegation-threatened Swallows in what should be a fascinating encounter as they meet for the first time. On paper, the home side walks away easy victors in this one, but two of Swallows’ three wins have come against an opposition side above them on the log. What’s been even more impressive for the NRB Boys is their defensive unit which has only let in six goals so far. With a new coach in Ernst Middendorp, the Dube Birds have all to play for on Saturday, with players eager to play their part in avoiding relegation. It is for that reason that I must give the win to Swallows, albeit inside a packed King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. 

Golden Arrows 19/10 | Draw 18/10 | Kaizer Chiefs 29/20 (15:30)

Golden Arrows comfortably beat Maritzburg United in the KZN Derby before the break and will look to pick up where they left off when Amakhosi visit Moses Mabhida on Saturday. Historically, this fixture never fails to deliver action and the upcoming edition promises more of the same. Both teams are in advanced positions on the log but are well aware that teams below them are gunning for their spots, and hence the pressure on both managers to win here. For Chiefs, it is also about payback, as they were stunned by 3-1 when these sides last met. Can Zwane find his winning combination and challenge Sundowns and Richards Bay for the title? If so, the away game against Arrows should be the perfect opportunity in front of a stadium that will be packed with a majority of their own supporters. I hand them the win. Get on Both Teams to Score: Yes at even money.

Sekhukhune United 15/10 | Draw 16/10 | AmaZulu 2/1 (17:30)

AmaZulu are still searching for their first away win in seven games as they sit in seventh place on the log. They could move to fifth place by the end of the weekend should Sundowns do them a favour by defeating Pirates on Friday. But that could be easier said than done for Romain Folz, who is yet to discover his best combinations. Sekhukhune will want to capitalise on the fact that Usuthu aren’t the biggest threat in front of goal. With just 11 goals this season, they have scored one more than Babina Noko. While it may be a bit early to start talking about relegation, Sekhukhune will feel they have adequate time to fight and avoid the chop. It all has to start with a win at home against the KZN side, which I cannot foresee. There are a lot of draws in this league, and I think this one will end in a stalemate. 

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