Five things to look out for in SA football this weekend
It's another exciting, action-packed weekend in the local game.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Lucas Ribeiro celebrates after scoring against AmaZulu in midweek. Masandawana may well need more of the same against Pyramids on Sunday in the Caf Champions League. Picture: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
A Cape cracker to kick things off
Stellenbosch and Cape Town City are two of the in-form sides in South African football right now, which all sets up for a tasty DStv Premiership weekend opener at the Danie Craven Stadium on Friday night.
Erik Tinkler’s City are on a run of six league wins in a row that has seen them surge into second place on the DStv Premiership table, with Khanyisa Mayo in superb form, rediscovering his scoring touch with six goals in six games.
Stellenbosch, meanwhile, have broken a semifinal jinx in reaching the Carling Black Label Knockout final, and Steve Barker’s men are also unbeaten in the league since the end of September. If this match delivers anything like the thrills of last season’s fixture, when Stellies came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in January, it should be one hell of a ride.
Sundowns need a Champions League response
There is absolutely no need to panic for Mamelodi Sundowns, following their 1-0 Group A loss to TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi last weekend.
Masandawana were the better side against Mazembe, and with a little more luck, would surely have come away with at least a point.
They are still clear favourites to win the group and reach the knockout rounds, but do need some sort of response at home to Egyptian side Pyramids on Sunday.
Pyramids are one of the up-and-coming sides in Egypt, and need their own bounce back, after a surprise loss to Mauritania’s FC Nouadhibou last weekend. The Cairo-based side are currently top of the Egyptian Premier League and no doubt former Cape Town City and SuperSport United striker Fagrie Lakay will be determined to show what he can do back on home soil. Sundowns, however, should have too much class.
Mid-table mediocrity as Chiefs meet Polokwane City
Kaizer Chiefs did win their last DStv Premiership match at Moroka Swallows, but it was not exactly inspiring from Cavin Johnson’s side, and Amakhosi still have plenty to do to convince anyone that they can reignite another season of ignominity.
As it stands, eight-placed Chiefs head into Saturday’s game at 10th-placed Polokwane City leading their opponents only on on goal difference.
Christian Saile’s goal against the Birds must have given a lift to all at Naturena, while Bruce Bvuma’s clean sheet also gives hope that Itumeleng Khune’s internal suspension will not hurt the side too much. But Chiefs last won consecutive league matches at the end of August, and still have it all to prove to their adoring fans.
Pirates need to keep up their pre-Christmas push
Orlando Pirates have staged a mini DStv Premiership revival, winning three of their last four league games, including Soweto derbies against Chiefs and Swallows.
Jose Riveiro’s side, however, are still battling for potency in attack, with only Evidence Makgopa delivering in front of goal, with a winner against Chiefs, and another against Swallows in midweek.
Monnapule Saleng is not having his best season in a Buccaneers shirt, while it remains to be seen just how long Pirates are without assault-convict Thembinkosi Lorch – the striker has been suspended by the club for now until December 12.
TS Galaxy visit Orlando on Sunday fresh from reaching the Carling Black Label Knockout final, and Jose Riveiro’s Buccaneers need to keep winning before the Christmas break if they are to boost their hopes of at least making it into second place in the table by the end of the season.
Sekhukhune out to keep flying the SA flag in Confed Cup
With SuperSport United showing no sign of being that interested in making progress in the Caf Confederation Cup – head coach Gavin Hunt wastes no opportunity to talk about his squad’s struggles to cope on the continent – it is left to Sekhukhune United to carry the torch for South Africa in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Lehlohonolo Seema’s side host Stade Malien on Sunday, after picking up a first Group D win against Diables Noirs last Sunday, and following that up with an important 2-0 home DStv Premiership win over Chippa United in midweek.
With Morocco’s RSB Berkane looking like the group’s clear favourites, it could well be between Sekhukhune and Stade Malien for the runners-up spot in the group, making a home win for Sekhukhune all-the-more important on Sunday.