Tuesday Dec 07, 2021. 10:00
South Africa’s DStv Premiership continues with a full round of midweek fixtures on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 December, headlined by upstarts Royal AM facing champions and log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns away from home.
Royal have been one of the surprise packages of the 2021-22 season thus far, with the brash newcomers to the league (who bought their way in by purchasing Bloemfontein Celtic’s top-flight status) sitting in third place on the log.
Yet the Brazilians remain the standard bearers, having opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the table. They are also yet to taste defeat this season and have shipped just three goals in 13 matches, making them clear favourites for the clash on Wednesday afternoon.
“Training is now going to be more on matches and video analysis,” said Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi on the difficulties of the busy period ahead of them.
“We will not have as much time to spend on the training field because on match day minus one we will be working more on what the opponents are doing on attack and defence and trying to see if our schemes can be able to deal with those situations.”
The midweek action opens with two matches on Tuesday, as strugglers TS Galaxy and Chippa United meet in a key clash at Mbombela Stadium, before Cape Town City and Maritzburg United battle for the chance to rise from mid-table mediocrity.
Wednesday also features Sekhukhune United – the surprise second-place team – looking to keep up their form with a win at home to Marumo Gallants at the iconic Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, as well as coach Benni McCarthy leading AmaZulu against one of his former teams, Orlando Pirates.
“We were the better team. Being the better team does not mean that you will win. We let another one slip and drew when we could have easily taken three points,” said McCarthy of his team’s draw with Royal this past weekend.
Finally, Golden Arrows are scheduled to host Kaizer Chiefs in the last match of this midweek round on Wednesday night, but there are significant doubts over the fixture.
Chiefs were unable to honour their match against Cape Town City this past weekend due to a massive outbreak of Covid-19 in their camp and whether the clash against Arrows goes ahead as planned remains to be seen.
DStv Premiership midweek fixtures
Tuesday 7 December
17:30: TS Galaxy v Chippa United
19:30: Cape Town City v Maritzburg United
Wednesday 8 December
15:30: Mamelodi Sundowns v Royal AM
17:00: Baroka FC v Swallows FC
17:00: Sekhukhune United v Marumo Gallants
17:00: Stellenbosch FC v SuperSport United
17:30: AmaZulu v Orlando Pirates
19:30: Golden Arrows v Kaizer Chiefs