Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are currently locked in a tense battle for PSL supremacy, but the AmaKhosi hold a slight advantage over their rivals in a bid to win their first league title in eight years.
Most South Africans would see this as a dream title race between two of the most popular sides in the country. The rivalry may have lost its edge in the recent past due to Chief’s inability to pursue league glory, but not so this season. This season it has been all about Pirates versus Chiefs.
Only eight match-days are left in the 2012/2013 PSL campaign and every point is vital for both teams. The Buccaneers will need to win at all costs in order to maintain the pressure on their high-flying opponents, while Chiefs will focus on grinding out results to keep their lead at the summit of the table.
Roger de Sa’s side may feel the burden of expectation following their past two treble winning seasons, but Chiefs will be equally under pressure to achieve their aim, which has been often been referred to as recapturing the glory of the past.
Chiefs face one of the toughest matches in South African football on Sunday, which is an away trip to Bloemfontein Celtic. If the league leaders can come away with a win from the Free State Stadium, the doubters may begin to believe.
Chiefs then take to the pitch against two Kwa-Zulu Natal sides in the form of Maritzburg United at home and Golden Arrows away, but should believe that they can take three points from both encounters.
These two match-days are followed by what could be deemed as two season defining clashes against SuperSport United and Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows, with both sides enjoying strong form towards the end of the season. Zeca Marques’s charges and Gavin Hunt’s men will be out to prove a point as the season draws to a close.
High-flying Platinum Stars will do their utmost to stop Chiefs in their tracks in late April, but the AmaKhosi will fear an away trip to Cape Town, as they face Ajax Cape Town in the second last game of the season at a venue where they do not have a stellar record.
The Urban Warriors may still be fighting for PSL survival and will be desperate to claim at least a point. The encounter could prove to make or break Chiefs season depending on the state of the affairs. A final away game against Pretoria University will be tricky, but the AmaKhosi may have already wrapped up the title by then.
Orlando Pirates should believe that they have an easier run-in compared to their rivals. A clash against University of Pretoria is followed by an away day against league strugglers AmaZulu in the next two weeks.
The defending champions may be unhinged by their continental pursuits in the CAF Champions League and a tough away trip to Ajax Cape Town in the following weeks, but will confident they can attain maximum points against Free State Stars and Black Leopards in their next two games.
An away game to Clive Barker’s Wits will be a test of the champion’s character, but they will fancy themselves to overcome Chippa United and Maritzburg United in the final two games of the season.
The title will be awarded to the team which can hold its nerve in the run-in. Many sides have lost leagues despite dominating the majority of the season and both Pirates and Chiefs will face a stern examination of their credentials in the following weeks.