DURBAN - The Absa Premiership goes into the final round on Saturday with five mid-table teams in the mix for a top-eight finish and five at the bottom battling for survival.

Of the remaining six clubs, who are confirmed qualifiers for next season’s MTN8 competition, only champions Bidvest Wits are secure in their position.

Across the league the other teams who can’t be overtaken are third-placed Cape Town City and Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, who occupy fifth and 11th positions respectively.

Besides relegation and the top eight, the fight for second place and entry to the African Champions League is still on between Mamelodi Sundowns and CT City.

The team that finishes third qualifies for the CAF Confederation Cup, the continent’s second-tier club competition.

Local interest will centre on Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United’s chances of finishing in the top half. Midlands side Maritzburg, placed seventh, should retain their top section ranking with a draw when Bloemfontein Celtic visit Harry Gwala Stadium.

That would see Arrows needing to thump Pirates by a nine-goal margin to make up an inferior goal difference and overtake Maritzburg in terms of goals scored. It’s an extremely long shot despite Pirates’ poor standard this term.

A more realistic hope for Abafana Bes’thende is to beat Bucs at Moses Mabhida Stadium and pray that eighth-placed Ajax Cape Town draw or lose against Baroka FC.

The latter’s fight for survival will see them throw everything into the clash, which will be one of the main battles of the afternoon.

Pirates are still in with a mathematical shout of making the top bracket. For them to keep up their record of always finishing in the top eight in the PSL era they must overcome Arrows, and bank on Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town stumbling. 

At the same time, they would need to make up five goals to overtake the Urban Warriors.

Arrows coach Clinton Larsen believes his team have the beating of Pirates, after they stretched the Sea Robbers during the second half of last weekend’s 1-0 Nedbank Cup semi-final loss in KwaMashu.

The Mercury

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