Bay, Chiefs could knock ‘Downs off top spot

Bay, Chiefs could knock ‘Downs off top spot
Richards Bay players warming up

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Oct 14, 2022. 11:00

Another truncated round of DStv Premiership action this weekend gives Richards Bay and Kaizer Chiefs the chance to knock leaders and reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns off of top spot.

With Sundowns, Cape Town City (both CAF Champions League), Marumo Gallants and Royal AM (both CAF Confederation Cup) absent due to their participation in African club competition, just four matches will be played in the Premiership across Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October.

Richards Bay will be in action in the mid-afternoon slot on Saturday, as they welcome KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United to the King Zwelithini Stadium. Victory for the promoted side will see them leapfrog Sundowns into top spot – albeit having played two games more than the reigning champions.

The Natal Rich Boyz are unbeaten in their last five league outings and held Orlando Pirates 0-0 in Soweto last weekend (despite playing half the match with just 10 men), while the Team of Choice is looking to avoid a hat-trick of losses after back-to-back defeats at the hands of SuperSport United and Stellenbosch FC.

Bay will once again hope their league-leading defence (just three goals conceded in 10 matches) is the foundation for success, according to co-coach Vasili Manousakis.

“The biggest plus for us [against Pirates] is the clean sheet,” he explained. “Seventh one of the season. Organisation without the ball, and that’s what happened, even when we were down to 10 men.”

If Richards Bay cannot snatch top spot, Saturday’s late-afternoon kick-off will then give Kaizer Chiefs the chance to do so, as they take on Chippa United at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The Amakhosi have shrugged off a poor start to the season with a hat-trick of wins over SuperSport, Swallows FC and Stellenbosch – with new striker Caleb Bimemyimana netting six times across the trio of matches, including a hat-trick against Stellies last weekend.

“With Caleb, he simplifies things, he keeps it simple as a striker. He wants to play the ball out wide, he wants to protect the ball, wants to play that one-two,” said Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane.

“He is also skilful, he’s not just a tall boy. He is quick for his structure and he’s got that balance as well.”

The truncated round opens on Friday evening with Golden Arrows hosting Stellenbosch at the Princess Magogo Stadium, at the same time that Orlando Pirates (who have managed just one win from their last four league outings) welcome an AmaZulu side which has suffered three straight losses and earlier this week replaced Brandon Truter with Romain Folz as coach.

“I will do everything in my power to bring back the glory days at AmaZulu. We are championship material, there is no doubt about that,” said the 32-year-old Frenchman, who was briefly at the helm of Marumo Gallants earlier this season.

DStv Premiership weekend fixtures

Times CAT

Friday 14 October

19:30: Orlando Pirates v AmaZulu

19:30: Golden Arrows v Stellenbosch FC

Saturday 15 October

15:30: Richards Bay v Maritzburg United

17:30: Kaizer Chiefs v Chippa United

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