By Bronywn Gerretsen and Latoya Newman

Eight, nine and 10 distinctions each - this is what the top pupils of the matric class of 2009 hope to receive when the results are officially announced in Durban on Thursday.

Ridwaan Amod, of Al-Falaah College in Overport, and Bhavin Bhagwan, of Crawford College La Lucia, are each tipped by their mates to be announced KwaZulu-Natal's top 2009 matriculant.

Ridwaan is expecting straight As in all 10 subjects and Bhavin nine. Similarly, Mandisa Nene, of Umlazi, is expecting As in her eight subjects. They include maths 3, maths, physics, life sciences, accounting and business science.

The boffin said he was fascinated by technology and wanted to become an electrical engineer.

If Bhavin is placed among the top matriculants, it would see him following in the footsteps of his sisters, who finished first and third in KZN in their matric years.

Bhavin was Crawford's top pupil in the trial examinations and is expected to finish first in the finals.

The Reservoir Hills resident plans to study at the University of the Witwatersrand, doing either a BSc in maths and physics, or medicine.

Bhavin also captained the school's cricket A team and qualified to write the final round of the SA Maths Olympiad, representing the provincial senior A team at the Interprovincial Maths Olympiad in 2008, for three consecutive years.

On Wednesday, he was surrounded by nine other top Crawford pupils hoping for strings of distinctions and expecting to be among the province's top matriculants.

Sachin Deenadayalu, 18, who is hoping for seven As, finished second in the trials, while Darren Frances, 17, who is hoping for eight As, and Xanthe Hunt, 18, tied for third place. Sachin will study medicine at the University of Cape Town and Xanthe plans to do a BA in English and psychology at the University of Stellenbosch.

Darren is taking a gap year in Australia. On his return, he will probably study foreign policy and political science.

Other Crawford pupils predicted to fare well were:

Caitlin Perling, who is hoping for eight distinctions;

Sundhiren Govender, who is hoping for nine distinctions;

Pranav Ramkilawan, who is confident he received seven distinctions, but is hoping for eight;

Nishalin Govender, who is hoping for nine distinctions;

Kishan Naidu, who is hoping for eight distinctions; and

Yeshkhir Naidoo, who is hoping for nine distinctions.

Mandisa, 17, who lives with her domestic worker mom and two sisters in a one-roomed mud hut in Umlazi, is expecting As in maths, business studies, accounting, economics, Zulu, English, maths 3 and life orientation. The Menzi High pupil will study accounting at UCT.

Her teachers often allowed her to stay over at their homes because it was not always possible to study effectively at her cramped house.

Bibi Ayesha Bassa, of Danville Park Girls' High School, is expecting seven As and has already been accepted to study medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

"I grew up in a democracy, enjoying privileges which my parents and grandparent were denied, so I have grabbed these opportunities to succeed," she said.

Bibi Ayesha said practising medicine would be a "triple whammy dream career". "I love working with people, I have a passion for helping people in need and I love physics and chemistry - it works perfectly for me," she said.

Pinetown Boys' High's Kereshan Naidoo is also expecting seven distinctions, a product of his hard work and support from his parents and teachers.

Similarly, Krishani Naidoo, of Tongaat Secondary School, said she had consistently maintained A aggregates by studying hard. "I advise this year's matrics to work hard throughout the year. Don't wait for the finals," she said. Krishani, who hopes to become a chartered accountant, expects to score eight As.

Sinethemba Sithomo and Lungisani Ntombela, both 17, who completed their matric at Adams College, are expecting to pass with distinctions.

Both did the same subjects and were in the same class. With a flare for accounting, they want to complete their degrees in BCom Finance and Accounting at the University of Cape Town.