Wednesday night’s epic showdown between Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs does not only represent a clash that could potentially have severe ramifications on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title race but is between two sides facing contrasting fortunes.
It has certainly been a complete turnaround of Wits’ fortunes when compared to last season, where they spent a lot of the season fighting it out at the bottom of the log. But they have learnt their lessons and this season are a force to be reckoned with.
This will not come as good news to Amakhosi, who after a short resurgence following the appointment of Ernst Middendorp, were brought right back down to earth with a defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns.
The loss will test Middendorp’s ability to bounce back and motivate his players, and with an important Caf Confederation Cup clash on the horizon, victory will do a lot to build confidence.
|Game||Bidvest Wits v Kaizer Chiefs|
|Date||Wednesday, January 9|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Live Match Centre||TV Channel|
Squad & Team News
Meanwhile, Wits maintained their hold over second placed Orlando Pirates over the weekend after picking up victory against Free State Stars. The Students coach Gavin Hunt will be happy to see his troops carry their winning form into 2019 as they have now built some momentum.
This will very likely see the Wits mentor look to keep consistency and name a largely unchanged line-up.
Simon Murray has been highly influential for Wits after joining at the beginning of the season and he leads the club’s scoring charts with four goals.
In addition, the role of Deon Hotto has been nothing short of sensational. The winger has registered seven assists in the league thus far, and Hunt is likely to keep faith in the duo.
Also, Wits have one of the stingiest defences in the league having conceded just 10 goals in 16 games. This has primarily been down to the work of Robyn Johannes and Buhle Mkhwanazi in the heart of the defence.
Chiefs definitely have their work cut out especially as they have only won one of their last five games away from home.
This will worry Middendorp, who too will be expected to ring the changes. One player that will grab the most amount of attention will be goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
With Itumeleng Khune out for the season having gone under the knife, Vries will be expected to step up to the plate. But after his error which led to Sundowns’ stealing victory on the weekend, this will be the ultimate test of character for the 29-year-old.
Add to this the fact that Chiefs will be without Erick Mathoho and Philani Zulu among others, this leaves Middendorp with a selection headache. But he will take some confidence knowing that he has a star-studded attack at his disposal.
Although, they are yet to hit the heights expected of them in front of goal as they have netted just 16 goals, with Khama Billiat leading the line alongside Leonardo Castro and Lebogang Manyama also prowling, Wits’ defence may have a lot to think about ahead of the game.
This has been a fixture that Chiefs have dominated overall, winning 18 of the 34 previous meetings. But the fact that Amakhosi’s last win against Wits came in 2017, it makes for an intriguing clash.
Wits and Chiefs have thrown up several exciting showdowns in the past and with so much at stake, Bidvest Stadium will be the place to be on Wednesday evening.