Amakhosi, SuperSport set for showdownComment on this story
The scene is set for a potentially explosive Premiership clash between Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Both sides are in contention for the league this season but a third consecutive defeat for sixth-placed Chiefs (40 points) would end their title aspirations.
Belief was the word being bandied about at Chiefs' headquarters in Naturena.
“I don't believe it's over for us. I still believe that we stand a chance,” said co-coach Doctor Khumalo.
“We (technical team) had a meeting with the senior players this week where we addressed some of the problems.
“I feel that we will get it right and hopefully it will be against SuperSport on Saturday.”
Chiefs were sweating over the availability of talisman midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, who hoped to shake off his injury niggle and take his place in the 'must-win' encounter.
United, on the other hand, have been camping in a private spot since Thursday for this clash.
Communication and outside interference would be kept to a minimum until after the fixture – coach Gavin Hunt's orders.
The Pretoria outfit is third on the log with 45 points, having made a late surge to be among the championship contenders.
Amatsantsatsa a Pitori remain hungry for the crown they lifted three times between 2007 and 2010.
They also beat Amakhosi 2-0 earlier in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.
On Saturday afternoon, Free State Stars take on Maritzburg United in Phuthaditjaba where the fifth-placed hosts will aim at maintaining their resounding season.
The Team of Choice, however, has had good results of late, including upsets over Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.
Coach Ernst Middendorp's Maritzburg side are now mid-table, safely away from the relegation threat but will make an effort to push themselves into the lucrative top eight when the season concludes next month.
“United are a good team with a good mentor in Middendorp,” said Stars striker Noah Chivuta.
“It will not be an easy match as both teams will be fighting for maximum points for various reasons.”
Wits tackle Bloemfontein Celtic in Milpark, while AmaZulu host Platinum Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban later in the evening.
The Clever Boys are still searching for an elusive win in 2012, while mercurial Celtic want a place inside the top half.
On Sunday, second-placed Sundowns (46 points) face tricky Santos in Atteridgeville.
The Brazilians have won just four of their last 12 matches. They suffered two successive defeats which saw them concede the top spot to Orlando Pirates earlier in the month.
Sundowns' star winger Elias Pelembe admitted that the Cape outfit, battling survival, will make their challenge for a critical three points hard.
“They will make things difficult for us and we have to push hard for the goals,” Pelembe said.
“We need to win in order to challenge for the league and all the players know that.”
Moroka Swallows, who are fourth on the log, will be at home to Golden Arrows in Dobsonville.
The once-dormant Birds have also staked a claim for championship honours in their best season since the mid-90s. – Sapa