Some interesting developments have occurred in the NFD over the festive season. TS Sporting has parted ways with Benson Mhlongo while Witbank Spurs have appointed Shakes Mashaba as their head coach. Gameweek 16 saw top-placed Stellenbosch continue their impressive form as they’re now six points clear of second placed Mbombela United. Elsewhere, Dominic Isaacs is seriously reviving Cape Umoya United as he looks to steer them clear of the relegation zone. This is what we can expect from this weekend’s action.
Friday 11 January
Richards Bay 47/10
The league’s leading goalscorer, Iqraam Rayners, bagged a brace to hand the log leaders a 2-0 victory over Royal Eagles in the Cape Winelands. That took his tally for the season to 11 goals and their opponents must be wary of the threat that he poses. It shall be interesting to see how a Richards bay side that was thrashed 3-0 by TS Galaxy last week handles him. Stellenbosch are unbeaten since gameweek three and it makes sense to back them at home.
Ajax Cape Town 7/10
Jomo Cosmos 4/1
Ajax came back twice to record a 3-2 win over Ubuntu Cape Town in a jam-packed iKapa derby. That was their fourth win in a row which shows that parting ways with Muhsin Ertugral was a great decision. They’re now tied on 27 points with third-placed Royal Eagles. The Urban Warriors host a Jomo Cosmos side that is desperate to return to winning ways after losing 1-0 to Maccabi through an injury time goal. Ezenkosi have lost the services of Charlton Mashumba who recently joined Polokwane City. Get on the hosts to emerge the victors here.
Saturday 12 January
Ubuntu Cape Town 21/10
TS Galaxy 13/10
Ubuntu Cape Town are still in the relegation zone after going three games without a single victory. The hosts have recorded just nine wins so far this season. They have lost nine of their 16 games so far this term as well. The side from the Cape face a stern test against TS Galaxy who have won all their recent three games. I can’t see past the away win here. Put your money on Dan Malesela’s boys!
Witbank Spurs 3/1
An injury time winner by Zanempi Methula gave Maccabi a 1-0 victory over Jomo Cosmos and that saw them climb up to ninth on the log. Their opponents, in the shape of Witbank Spurs, came unstuck against Cape Umoya United where they lost 2-1 under the tutelage of newly-appointed Shakes Mashaba. I can’t separate these two sides and I foresee the match ending in a draw.
Real Kings 19/10
Tshakhuma TM 14/10
Real Kings equalised late to salvage a 1-1 draw at University of Pretoria. The relegation-threated Magic Boys are facing stiff competition in the transfer market with PSL teams after the services of their players which isn’t helping them focus. Sphamandla Majola and Siphiwe Mbatha have attracted the interest of Highlands Park while Free State which have approached the team for Thobani Kunene, Lindokuhle Mbatha, Sicelo Mkhize and Luvuyo Phewa. Tshakhuma lost their first game since the turn of the year as they surprisingly went down 2-1 to Uthongathi at home. I expect Tshakhuma to win here.
Royal Eagles 9/10
TS Sporting 3/1
Royal Eagles understandably lost 2-0 away to high-flying Stellenbosch and they will surely fancy their chances against an embattled team. The hosts will be looking to cement their place in the PSL promotional play-off spots as they lie third on the log. TS Sporting have plummeted to eighth on the log after enduring a four-match losing streak. It has been officially confirmed that the club parted ways with Benson Mhlongo before Christmas as officials allegedly interfered with his work with Mfanimpela Maseko is currently babysitting the team. Royal Eagles should win here.
Sunday 13 January
Mbombela United 11/20
Cape Umoya United 47/10
Second-placed Mbombela United beat TS Sporting 2-1 last week to make it four wins in their last five games. They host Cape Umoya United who have won two and drawn two of their four games under the mentorship of Dominic Isaacs. ‘Domza’ has taken them off the foot of the table to four points above the relegation zone. This is a tricky encounter but I’ll back Mbombela due to home ground advantage.
University of Pretoria 5/2
Uthongathi managed to go to Tshakhuma and claim a 2-1 victory despite missing Celimpilo Ngema who is training with Chippa United with the hope of landing a contract in the current transfer window. Meanwhile, University of Pretoria relinquished a 1-0 lead to play to a 1-1 draw with Real Kings. Kamogelo Mogashoa was forced off by injury in that clash. I say Uthongathi will collect maximum points at home.
TREBLE @ 9/2
Stellenbosch Win 11/20
Ajax Cape Town Win 7/10
Uthongathi Win 11/10
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