Thabo Nodada v Willard Katsande
There’s probably not all that much between City and Chiefs, which is why victory is likely to be the stuff of small margins. Every error, every decision, will be crucial in determining the eventual winner.
The clash that could well decide the outcome is in central midfield, where two combative powerhouses roam the field.
For many years, Willard Katsande has been the rock upon which the Soweto club has functioned. His physical presence scares the living daylights out of the opposition, he’s a ball-winner supreme and, more importantly, he is just as effective in creating space and openings for teammates.
In the same way, under Benni McCarthy, Thabo Nodada has emerged as the influential character at the centre of City’s endeavours. Nodada never stops running, never stops trying and just never gives up; he’s the beating heart that keeps the team ticking, irrespective of the match situation.
Nodada or Katsande? Whoever grabs hold of the midfield will steer their team to victory.
Craig Martin v Chiefs defence
Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas is still finding his way since his appointment in July this year. From the team’s results and performances, it is clear that he’s not yet sure of his combinations – and this is especially true in defence.
The Soweto club has leaked goals, with Solinas juggling defenders like Daniel Cardoso, Teenage Hadebe, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Siyabonga Ngezana, and he now also has a new addition in former Ajax Cape Town centre-back Mario Booysen to call upon.
Chiefs fans will be hoping the coach has sorted out the defensive issues - because waiting for them today is the quickest man in the PSL: City winger Craig Martin.
The 24-year-old has been in superb form this season, blitzing beyond defenders as they were standing still.
His speed is frightening, which is why if Chiefs are to get the better of City, then they are going to have to keep Martin in check.
Thamsanqa Mkhize v Ramahlwe Mphahlele
The right backs of City and Chiefs, obviously, won’t come up against each other directly – but this is a duel that has implications for Bafana Bafana.
It will be interesting to monitor the performance of City’s Thami Mkhize against Chiefs’ Ramahlwe Mphahlele.
At the weekend, in Bafana’s 0-0 draw with Libya, Mphahlele had a shocker: he was constantly caught out on the counter, and his shoddy performance failed to inspire any confidence.
There are many who believe Mkhize should be the man to don the Bafana right back jersey; he has been picked before and it was a bit of a surprise that he was dropped for last week’s Afcon encounter.
The City captain brings commitment and energy to the cause – and today, he has an opportunity to prove once and for all that he deserves the Bafana nod, not Mphahlele.