Kaizer Chiefs v Moroka Swallows – Saturday 18th February – Soccer City (18:00)
The PSL has finally restarted after an 8 week break for the Africa Cup of Nations. It’s been a long and pointless break for the PSL since Bafana Bafana did not qualify to participate in the AFCON and coaches have had a tough job trying to keep their players motivated and focused on the rest of their season. This weekend’s fixtures sets up a vital clash between title challengers Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows, who lie 3rd and 4th place respectively at the time of writing this article before the midweek clashes.
Kaizer Chiefs find themselves 3 points behind log leaders and favourites for the title, Mamelodi Sundowns. It’s a good position to be in after having an inconsistent first round of matches and Vladimir Vermezovic will be looking to bring some consistency to their game. Their major concern so far has been the poor form of their strikers. Bernard Parker, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Sthembiso Ngcobo have scored just 6 goals combined and Kaizer Cheifs’ goal tally for the season is only 16, 14 less than Sundowns. They have been boosted by the return of Captain Itumeleng Khune who has been out injured for almost five months after drama-filled Bafana Bafana game against Sierra Leone last year.
Moroka Swallows Coach Gordon Igesund expects his small squad to be stretched to the limit as fixtures come thick and fast during the second round of the league. While the other PSL challengers were busy strengthening their squads ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2nd round, Swallows were quiet in the January transfer window, only bringing in one player, Zimbabwean Gilbert Mapemba, and promoting development to their squad. The 5 time PSL champions have attributed this to the minimal budget the club have had this season. They find themselves in a good position coming from the league break just 5 points off the log leaders. It’s a massive turnaround from last season where they narrowly escaped relegation. The Dube Birds have the players capable of beating any of the top PSL sides on their day. However they could struggle in the title race as they don’t have the squad depth needed to keep the momentum up and challenge for the title. David Mathebula will be keen to get one against his old club. The midfielder has been a top performer for Swallows since his move. Also the likes of Siyabonga Nomvethe, Lerato Chabangu and Joseph Makhanya, who all have experience at top PSL clubs will be key for Swallows come Saturday.
The Amakhosi have beaten Swallows in the last 3 meetings, winning this seasons 1st round clash 2-0 at the Dobsonville Stadium. They have been strong at home losing just 1 match in 7, drawing 1 and winning 5. Chiefs are tipped to pick up the 3 points.