AfricanFootball previews the final round of Absa Premiership action

AfricanFootball previews the final round of Absa Premiership action
Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns tackled by Augustine Mbara of Highlands Park during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Highlands Park at the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on the 27 November 2016©Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday May 27, 2017. 10:00

AfricanFootball looks ahead to the final round of the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season, which wraps up this Saturday afternoon with eight simultaneous fixtures played across South Africa.

While Bidvest Wits have secured the league title, the focus will fall on the relegation battle at the bottom of the log and the scrap in mid-table to finish in the top eight and secure a place in next season’s MTN8.

The team most in peril is bottom-of-the-log Baroka FC, who have 25 points to their name, but Highlands Park (26 points), Free State Stars, Chippa United (both 27 points) and Bloemfontein Celtic (28 points) could all finish last (direct relegation) or second from bottom (entry into the relegation playoffs) - depending on results.

The key game is Free State Stars hosting Chippa United at Goble Park in Bethlehem, an encounter in which both teams are likely to be just as concerned by what is going on in the Baroka and Highlands matches.

Baroka are away to Ajax Cape Town, while Highlands will host Mamelodi Sundowns in Tembisa. The problem for the strugglers is that their respective opponents still have important goals to fight for.

The Urban Warriors are only just placed in the top eight and are desperate to defend that position from the likes of Golden Arrows (who host Orlando Pirates, a team with only a slim mathematical chance of cracking the top half) and Platinum Stars (who are away to SuperSport), while the Brazilians are looking to secure second place on the log and ensure that they qualify for next year’s CAF Champions League.

At the Harry Gwala Stadium, a point will probably be enough for both Maritzburg United to finish in the top half and Bloemfontein Celtic to avoid the bottom two, while the match at FNB Stadium pits a jubilant Wits against a despondent Kaizer Chiefs, who have gone trophyless through the season and have failed to win any of their last six league and cup matches.

Absa Premiership fixtures
Saturday, 27 May 2017

Kaizer Chiefs v Bidvest Wits - FNB Stadium
Ajax Cape Town v Baroka FC - ape Town Stadium
SuperSport United v Platinum Stars - Lucas Moripe Stadium
Golden Arrows v Orlando Pirates - Moses Mabhida Stadium
Free State Stars v Chippa United - Goble Park Stadium
Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic - Harry Gwala Stadium
Polokwane City v Cape Town City - Old Peter Mokaba Stadium
Highlands Park v Mamelodi Sundowns - Makhulong Stadium

All matches kick-off at 15h00 CAT

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