As the table stood on Friday morning, Sundowns are on 56 points, two above Orlando Pirates, with Bidvest Wits five points back on 51.
That could, however, all change, as the Premier Soccer League (PSL) could still be set to make a late challenge on Friday to its own disciplinary committee’s decision that Sundowns be handed a financial penalty, rather than a points deduction, after it was found that the Brazilians illegibly fielded Wayne Arendse in a match against Bidvest Wits last October, which ended 1-1.
The PSL reportedly want Wits to be awarded a 3-0 win, which would mean Sundowns are deducted a point, and that the Students are awarded an additional two points.
Should that be the case, Sundowns will be on 55 points, Pirates on 54, and Wits on 53, meaning the title race is a three-horse one, and not just two teams.
However, the Tshwane side will still know that a win over Free State Stars would guarantee the title, no matter what the outcome of the hearing, or the results of the other two clubs on Saturday.
It won’t be easy against a Stars side who face possible relegation, but the manner in which Pitso Mosimane’s side bounced back from the disappointment of their CAF Champions League exit to convincingly beat Golden Arrows earlier this week, underlined their desire not to end the season trophy-less, and to successfully defend their league title.
Pirates – looking for their first league title since 2012 (and their fifth in total, only Sundowns have won it more times), came unstuck last weekend with a 2-2 draw away to Cape Town City, which handed back the initiative to Masandawana.
Bucs end their season at home to Polokwane City, who are certain to end the season in either fifth or sixth position.
Wits are away at Golden Arrows, who are in tenth spot and only have the faintest mathematical chance of claiming a top-eight finish.
For the Students to dramatically clinch the Premiership title for the second time in their history – two years after their first – they will need both Sundowns and Pirates to lose, or draw, in their respective matches.
That is, however, working on the assumption that they are indeed awarded an additional two points from the PSL.
If not, the Johannesburg outfit would still be in contention to overtake Pirates and finish in second and claim a Champions league spot for next season. That would require Bucs to lose to Polokwane City, and for Wits to beat Arrows by two goals.
Currently, Pirates have a plus-17 goal difference, with Wits and Sundowns on plus-15 – which again could change, should the PSL manage to push through a late ruling.
Saturday’s fixtures (all games kick off at 3pm):
Orlando Pirates vs Polokwane City
Black Leopards vs Cape Town City
Bloemfontein Celtic vs AmaZulu
Golden Arrows vs Bidvest Wits
Free State Stars vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Chippa United vs Kaizer Chiefs
Baroka vs Maritzburg United
SuperSport United vs Highlands Park