The Absa Premiership era reaches its pinnacle on Saturday afternoon as one of the most unpredictable leagues in Africa reaches its culmination with several riveting sub-plots that is set to captivate the continent.
Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns are level on points with only goal-difference separating Pitso Mosimane’s star-studded outfit from clinching their 10th crown while Ernst Middendorp will be looking for his first-ever league title and in the process, end Chiefs’ five-year drought.
Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits, who’s 99-year history comes to a controversial halt after their sale to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) – will contest for CAF Confederation Cup qualification – which incredibly could see the Limpopo-based outfit in continental football with their debut top-flight campaign.
Two of Mzansi’s most successful clubs battle it out
Amakhosi will face a tough against relegation-threatened Baroka FC who are aiming to secure their status in the league.
Chiefs are three goals ahead of Sundowns but have several defensive deficiencies that have been exposed of late – a record which has seen them conceding 26 goals, four more than their title rivals which could be their Achilles heel.
Masandawana played catch up for most of the season, chasing log leaders Chiefs. Despite all the pressure on Chiefs, the Tshwane-based outfit will need to dig dipper to keep their hope to lift their third consecutive title as they need to overturn a three-goal difference or hope Chiefs lose or draw in their clash against Baroka.
Top eight gets messy
From position seven with Cape Town City towards 10th-placed Stellenbosch, Highlands Park and Bloemfontein Celtic sit between the Cape Town rivals for MTN8 qualification.
Tosin Holmes digs into the ‘dog fight’
In the Pursuit of Happiness, an infant Jaden Smith tells Will Smith about how a sinking man who needed help refused it multiple times when lifeboats arrived.
He resorted to blaming his creator, who revealed how much help he had sent. The Man’s ignorance had undone him.
When it is Sink or Swim, survival instincts are activated and it is a case of the fittest. In a relegation dogfight, every win counts.
It’s the place where four clubs are at the moment in the PSL. A battle to escape the two dreaded spots occupied by Baroka and Polokwane.
Only one of both will be automatically relegated, while the promotion-relegation playoff spot throws in a little more in the mix, Black Leopards, Chippa United and Amazulu are all within sights of Bakgaga, who are experts at escaping the drop since their ascent to South Africa’s Premier Division.
A win or draw for Bakgaga relegates Polokwane regardless of “Rise and Shine’s final day outcome. However, Baroka must beat Kaizer Chiefs and hope Black Leopards, Amazulu and Chippa fail to win to be assured of their league status.
That’s a lot of results to swing your way. Lidoda Duvha and the Chili boys were in a similar position last season, earning last day wins to preserve their league status, whether that obtains again is what we wait to see.
Rise and Shine’s great fall could be the story of the season, but this chapter doesn’t close without another shocker. Baroka and Leopards play Chiefs and Sundowns. Amazulu host Highlands Park, Chippa host Golden Arrows. Surely, the clubs need to watch Steve Komphela’s motivation videos today, Relegation-promotion must be avoided.
Matchweek 30 fixtures in full:
Baroka FC vs Kaizer Chiefs
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Black Leopards
Chippa United vs Golden Arrows
Bidvest Wits vs Polokwane City
Cape Town City vs SuperSport United
Orlando Pirates vs Stellenbosch FC
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Mariztzburg United
Amazulu vs Highlands Park