It’s kick-off time in our local Mzansi competition with the Premier Soccer League starting namhlanje (today).
There is a full roster of matches on the go and making any calls on who will win is a risky business in the PSL, more so in round one.
The games of interest today will be Sundowns at home, priced at 2/3, playing SuperSport at 15/4. The other clash is Pirates at 7/10 versus Celtic at just over 4/1. My call is that the home teams do the business, as they go in as favourites with the bookies. The double on the two teams to win is paying 2/1, so a R1000 bet will pay back R3000.
Newcomers Stellenbosch are playing their Premier League opener against Chippa. A draw for the Cape team would be a good result, as I don’t see them winning first up.
Tomorrow there is a KZN derby of interest between Arrows and Maritzburg. The other game that will have many people checking for a scoreline will be Baroka hosting Chiefs. I think Arrows should win at home, but I plead the fifth for the Baroka game - no shade.
As your local Sangoma, it’s only right to make an early season call. An early punt (if picked right) could pay dividends.
Orlando Pirates are my favourites to win the title, and Black Leopards most likely to get relegated.
Over in England, it’s early bragging rights up for grabs in the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Liverpool. This fixture is usually contested between the FA Cup and Premier League winners. However City won both so Liverpool have stepped in as opponents, based on being the league runners-up.
The game, I feel, will set the scene for this season. We’re all hoping it will be an open game and I expect goals from both sides. It’s a chance for the league’s best teams from last season to show off the new acquisitions and old stars.
The draw is priced at 5/2, to win Man City are 9/10 and Liverpool 29/10. The scales are heavily tipped, so the Scouser supporters are getting a steal on that price of just under 3/1. I think City are good for the win, but I’m not sure at that price of 9/10. Go for value perhaps?
In other sporting action in England (for a change this summer!), it is the Ashes on at the minute. This is the oldest and most anticipated rivalry in the history of cricket.
England come in as world ODI champions and the most likely challengers for the coveted urn. It is five Tests over six weeks in what should be a great series gleaning considerable attention. Australia are barely out of the shadow of their lowest time in the history of their game - ‘Sandpaper-Gate’.
England will be pumped after winning the World Cup, and will have the country’s interests on a high. The Barmy Army will be heard belting out their repertoires all weekend long - always a joy to watch.
I fancy England to maybe do the double, lifting high the Ashes urn and winning the World Cup inside one year, something unprecedented. It’s day three today in the first Test, England looked on top early on day one with the hosts teetering at 122/8 but only managed to bowl Australia out for 284 runs, after a Steve Smith masterclass. An issue for England is an injury to James Anderson, which may put a strain on their bowlers in the second innings. But for me? England to win this Test and the series.
On the local rugby scene, it’s round four in the Currie Cup. The Pumas are hosting the Sharks, and the Bulls play at home against the Griquas. Both home teams are desperate for wins to keep their Cup hopes alive. Griquas are second on 10 points, and the Sharks should be fresh after a bye last week. Both visiting teams come in with form, so I call Sharks at 3/10 and Griquas for the upset at 19/10.
Lastly it’s the Formula 1 from Hungary. Last weekend’s race was a joy. Most fans and some teams may be doing a rain dance, definitely Max! I think order will be restored this weekend by Mercedes.