JOHANNESBURG - ABSA Premiership addicts may be suffering from withdrawal symptoms with only one, not so enticing, midweek fixture scheduled. But several teams will be relieved that they are afforded more time to fix some errors, try out combinations in training or have key players return to full fitness. Here are five such teams.
Promoted at the start of this 2018-19 campaign, Lidoda Duvha have found the going tough in the topflight and are still licking their wounds following Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of MTN8 finalists SuperSport United.
After three defeats, two draws and a single win there’s no doubt that coach Joel Masutha’s future hangs in the balance. Leopards put faith in the man who guided them back to the Premier League to end their five years in the NFD, but the club bosses may be running out of patience - no one wants to drop down a division.
Masutha has until next Wednesday to prepare for another Polokwane derby when Leopards host Baroka in Thohoyandou. This venue was a fortress for them en route to promotion, but they have given their opponents the impression that they can go there and be confident of victory after Bloemfontein Celtic narrowly beat them there.
Any championship contender would want to build on Amakhosi’s current momentum, especially now that the Glamour Boys look like they are clicking. But that’s not necessarily the case for coach Giovanni Solinas, who missed half of the pre-season due to his delayed appointment. An opportunity like this, with Chiefs back in action only on Tuesday, means the Italian tactician can continue drilling his charges into the side he wants them to be.
He revealed that he took advantage of the recent Fifa break and it is no surprise that Amakhosi have won three games in a row since and looked extremely convincing doing it. Solinas can play catch-up between now and their clash away to Highlands Park.
You’d think Leopards coach Masutha is the next likely casualty of poor results in the Premiership, but think again. With trigger-happy chairman Chippa Mpengesi on the loose, newly appointed trainer Eric Tinkler is not safe. He arrived recently, taking the place of Dan Malesela, who was given just three league matches this season before being shown the door.
In the last four years or so, Chippa has changed coaches 16 times. Tinkler got off on the wrong foot by suffering defeat in his first game and then drawing his second - that’s a fireable offence in Mpengesi’s books. Seeing that he has survived the early chop, the next few days are crucial to his survival.
The Clever Boys enjoyed nearly two months sitting pretty at the top of the table until they dropped points last Friday and were overtaken by the Buccaneers. It was immediately following that surprise 1-0 defeat at home against Polokwane City, who were playing with a man short, that Wits coach Gavin Hunt said he may want to work on a few more combinations. He was bitterly disappointed that his men failed to pull away from the pack by dropping points away to Maritzburg a week earlier and then again in front of their home fans.
They are the current table toppers, but only just, as their fellow contenders are breathing down their necks. Despite being the new leaders, coach Micho Sredojevic is still not convinced that his charges can hold on to this position if his post-match comments are anything to go by. This brief break will help him iron out the kinks and work towards making Bucs the full package that he often refers to.