A return to PSL action on Wednesday night will see the likes of Free State Stars, Platinum Stars and Polokwane City all looking to get their league campaign back on track.
Free State Stars vs Chippa United
Free State Stars will be in search of improving their league results when they tackle Chippa United at Goble Park on Wednesday evening.
Ea Lla Koto have now gone three matches without a victory in all competitions and last picked up a win when they beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0 in a PSL encounter last month.
The Bethlehem-based outfit’s last match saw them lose 1-0 to Cape Town City and they were also eliminated from the Telkom Knockout Cup, following a 4-2 thrashing at the hands of Bidvest Wits.
Luc Eymael’s charges now find themselves in 10th spot with 11 points from nine round of matches but could find themselves in the top half of the table if they pick up maximum points and other results go in their favour.
The home side has been boosted by the return to training of full-back Nyiko Mobbie, though the likes of Makhehlene Makhaula, Sifiso Mbhele and new signing Oliver Kwizera still remain on the sidelines for Eymael’s team.
The Chilli Boys are unbeaten in their last seven PSL matches though their form took a slight knock when Kaizer Chiefs traveled to Port Elizabeth and came back with a 1-0 win their Telkom Knockout last 16 tie.
Teboho Moloi has been a revelation at the helm of Chippa since taking over the reins. The former Orlando Pirates assistant coach has claimed big scalps with wins over defending league champions Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns (in the TKO) and the Citizens.
Moloi’s team currently occupy sixth position on the log with 14 points from 10 matches and a win over Ea Lla Koto will see them join top three teams like of Baroka FC, Golden Arrows and Benni McCarthy’s City outfit.
One standout player that has taken his game to a new level since joining the Chilli Boys from the Brazilians is Samuel Julies. The left-footed attacker has found the net three times in his last three matches in all competitions and will be a player to watch when the two sides clash.
Stars and Chippa have clashed on eight previous occasions, with Eymael’s side winning four of those ties to the Chilli Boys’ three wins, with one fixture ending in a draw.
Platinum Stars vs Bloemfontein Celtic
PSL bottom-dwellers Platinum Stars entertain Bloemfontein Celtic at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Wednesday.
Dikwena are hoping to turn things around after an unimpressive start to the season that has seen them win just one encounter in 10 league matches and sit rock bottom of the log with seven points, one behind 15th placed Wits.
Roger de Sa’s team will aim to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of Celtic in the Telkom Knockout a week ago and claim an all-important win that could finally lift them of the foot of the table.
De Sa has been boosted by the return of former Chiefs winger Abia Nale who has missed the last seven league games for Dikwena through injury, though they have a long-term injury casualty in Mduduzi Nyanda who is still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.
Bongi Ntuli and Robert Ng’ambi have each scored three goals apiece for De Sa’s outfit and could once again be pivotal in leading Stars to just their second win in the league this campaign.
Siwelele are in high spirits ahead of this tie after they booked a place in the TKO final at the weekend, defeating Polokwane City 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 1-1.
Veselin Jelusic’s team have enjoyed a rather impressive run of late and are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions, with their last league triumph coming in the 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in October.
Phunya Sele Sele are in fourth spot on the league table with 15 points from nine ties and could top the log if they upset Dikwena and other results swing their way.
Jelusic has been able to unleash young gems like Tshegofatso Mabaso and Kabelo Mahlasela who have really proved to be a headache for teams’ defense lines, though the latter is reportedly set to leave the Free State side after deciding not to renew his contract, with Soweto giants Chiefs and Orlando Pirates said to be keen on the midfielder.
The visitors hold the upper hand in terms of head-to-head record having won 11 matches in the 28 meetings between the two sides while Stars won nine with eight clashes ending in draws.
Polokwane City vs Maritzburg United
TKO semifinal losers Polokwane City take on Maritzburg United in a league encounter at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night.
Rise and Shine will be hugely disappointed with their last four outcome after they saw off Pirates in the quarterfinal but will now look to put that loss behind them and fully focus on their league campaign.
Bernard Molekwa’s side sit on 12th spot with 10 points from 10 league matches and are unbeaten in their last four encounters in the league.
Rodney Ramagalela and Rendani Ndou are in fine form for the home side and have scored 10 goals between them in all competitions this season.
The Team of Choice find themselves in a precarious position in 13th spot with just nine points from eight matches.
Fadlu Davids’ charges lost their last league match 1-0 away to Siwelele which saw them stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions.
Maritzburg started the season like a house on fire with three consecutive wins but last won a league match back in August when they beat the Urban Warriors 2-0.
Davids would hope that the FIFA international break afforded his players to recharge their batteries and that they can produce the goods when they take to the pitch in Limpopo tomorrow evening.
Evans Rusike and Lebohang Maboe have been the club's reliable scorers this campaign but have simultaneously struggled to hit form. In fact, the last time any of the two found the back of the net was in the MTN8 semifinal first-leg draw against SuperSport United when the latter notched up an 84th minute equalizer.
Past results have been evenly balanced between the sides since the 2008/09 campaign. The teams have met 10 times in the league with each side winning four matches, drawing two and losing four.