Forget about the heat in terms of the weather – the temperature is sure to be higher when AmaZulu and Bidvest Wits clash in an Absa Premiership match at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
Even at the cooler kick-off time of 6pm, tonight’s game will be a pressure-cooker affair with much at stake for both sides.
AmaZulu can improve on their previous best sequence of results this season by going five matches unbeaten, and Wits will be hungry for victory after two successive losses.
Victory for the Durban side will lift them to third place, and more significantly raise their morale to another level altogether, whereas a loss could derail Wits’ title aspirations.
“Wits is a three pointer, there’s no question about it,” said right-back Bonginkosi Macala who has played an integral role in Usuthu’s improved defence.
“It is about doing whatever it takes to get three points at Magogo. The confidence is there now. We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and then hopefully finish our chances on the day and from there things will fall into place.”
In this four-game run of two wins and two draws they have leaked one goal.
Tonight their midfield will need to be equally miserly to deny players such as Papy Faty and Matthew Pattison room to manoeuvre.
Ghanaian midfielder John Arwuah and Kulegani Madondo will be at the cutting edge of that battle. Having played for Wits coach Gavin Hunt when he was at Supersport United, Arwuah knows what to expect.
“We must stabilise the midfield because that’s where they are very tough,”said Arwuah.
“I must make sure that they don’t have room to pick up the second ball and play from there. If we can win the midfield battle and feed our players the ball then the game can be won.”
In an earlier game, Lamontville Golden Arrows have an opportunity to climb off the foot of the table when they travel to second-bottom Free State Stars.
It’s the second match in charge of Arrows for Shaun Bartlett and Bheka Phakathi, who were elevated from their assistant coach positions following the departure of head coach Mark Harrison early this week.
Arrows are without midfielder Manti Moholo who is suspended, but last week’s 3-2 morale-boosting win over Polokwane City should compensate for his absence. And with Free State winless in seven games, Arrows have a fair chance to register their first away victory there.
The other local side, Maritzburg United, are in a better position to advance up the table when they visit Mpumalanga Black Aces tomorrow.
With Ghanaian international defender Mohammed Awal back from suspension, and spirits high after a win and a draw in their first two matches of the year, the Team of Choice can overtake Aces with victory at Mbombela Stadium.
The 3-2 win over University of Pretoria, followed by this week’s 2-2 draw against Kaizer Chiefs has given the side renewed belief, said coach Steve Komphela.
“It gives us the feel-good again,” said Komphela.
“Now with 13 more confrontations in front of us, if we can set up like this, and even improve, evolve, this team can only get better.
“Confidence will come, which breeds belief, and then we will have the faith that this team is good. I think there is enough quality here.” - Independent on Saturday