JOHANNESBURG – The first and last positions might be decided already but there is plenty to fight for on the last day of the Absa Premiership.
Contenders: Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United
The Team of Choice have two shots at qualifying for the Caf Confederation Cup next season. They can either book a place by finishing third or winning the Nedbank Cup final against Free State Stars on Saturday next week. This is already a great season for Maritzburg, they are appearing in their first cup final and they have accumulated the most points in the club’s history.
They could better that by finishing third, which would be the club’s best finish in their history. To do that they must beat Golden Arrows and hope that Kaizer Chiefs don’t win against Ajax Cape Town.
But Amakhosi will be no pushovers as they are looking to end a miserable season on a high. Chiefs have seen their fans twice resort to acts of hooliganism to vent. Their last violent actions in Durban resulted in coach Steve Komphela resigning and Patrick Mabedi taking over in the interim.
Mabedi captained Chiefs under Muhsin Ertugral who is now at Ajax looking to mastermind a great comeback for the Urban Warriors who are staring down the barrel of relegation. A win for Chiefs will guarantee them a third-place finish. But if they don’t win, they must hope that the Team of Choice also doesn’t win as Maritzburg have a superior goal difference.
Contenders: Golden Arrows, Chippa United, Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu
The top six teams - Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg United, Cape Town City and Free State Stars - have already booked their places in next year’s MTN8. Five teams will be fighting for the last two spots for the cup with the biggest prize money (R8-million) in the country.
Golden Arrows and Chippa United will start the day occupying those two spots. But that could change at the end of the day should Abafana Bes’thende or the Chilli Boys slip up against the Team of Choice and Polokwane City. What makes those matches interesting is that Arrows and Chippa’s opponents also have something to fight for.
Maritzburg are fighting to register their best finish in the club’s history and Rise and Shine are fighting for their lives.
Contenders: Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United, Polokwane City and Baroka FC
Rise and Shine and their neighbours Baroka FC are not only holding thumbs that they survive but also that Black Leopards join them in the elite league next season. Lidoda Duvha will fight it out in the promotion play-offs along with Jomo Cosmos who finished third in the first division and the team that will finish 15th in the Absa Premiership.
Ajax Cape Town start the day occupying that spot. The Urban Warriors need a win against Amakhosi to avoid having to retain their status through the play-offs. What counts in their favour is that Matsatsantsa a Pitori also take on Bakgaga in a clash that would see them cancel each other out.
Ajax simply have to win their match against Amakhosi to survive. Matsatsantsa, Rise and Shine and Bakgaga will also approach their matches with survival instincts which should make for an interesting finale.
(All matches start at 3pm)
Maritzburg United v Golden Arrows @ Harry Gwala Stadium;
Ajax Cape Town v Kaizer Chiefs @ Cape Town Stadium;
Orlando Pirates v Free State Stars @ Orlando Stadium;
SuperSport United v Baroka FC @ Lucas Moripe Stadium;
Bloemfontein Celtic v Mamelodi Sundowns @ Dr. Molemela Stadium;
Platinum Stars vs Bidvest Wits @ Royal Bafokeng Stadium;
AmaZulu vs Cape Town City @ King Zwelithini Stadium;
Polokwane City vs Chippa United @ Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.