Friday Jan 20, 2023. 11:00
Mamelodi Sundowns will have the chance to make history in their clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday night, which is the pick of eight matches in South Africa’s DStv Premiership this coming weekend.
The match at FNB Stadium sees the Brazilians chasing a record 12th successive victory and a first league ‘double’ in the PSL era over the Amakhosi, who they thrashed 4-0 in Tshwane when the teams met back in August last year.
Such has been Sundowns’ dominance that coach Rhulani Mokwena has been forced to reject the notion that a sixth straight championship is already assured.
“Apart from this game [a 1-0 win over SuperSport United on Monday], it’s SuperSport who beat us in the first round. You’ve got Sekhukhune that drew with us 1-1,” the coach noted.
“There’s TS Galaxy who beat us 1-0 and in between those two matches you’ve got two big rivals in that space, and so what right do we have of thinking that this thing is done? The mentality is on to the next one, and that is what we focus on.”
Realistically, with Sundowns enjoying a 14-point lead, the chasing pack of Richards Bay, SuperSport, Chiefs and Pirates are fighting for the runners-up spot and the spare place in next season’s CAF Champions League.
To that end, the meeting of SuperSport and Bay at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday evening will be a key clash. Matsatsantsa coach Gavin Hunt was proud of the performance his side produced in the defeat to Sundowns, pushing the champions all the way despite missing key trio Ricardo Goss, Grant Margeman and Thabang Sibanyoni, who were all ineligible to face their parent club.
“I thought we were the better team because we created more chances,” Hunt said. “But you got to score against a team like this. We came here with a really patched-up team because a lot of players were out.
“You have to put the ball in the net. Obviously, they got a very lucky goal after the ball bounced right, and it fell to the player, so we were a bit unfortunate.”
The round opens on Friday with a double-header pitting Cape Town City and Sekhukhune United against TS Galaxy and Swallows FC respectively; Saturday features a KwaZulu-Natal derby between Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United; and Sunday sees Orlando Pirates looking to build momentum when they welcome Stellenbosch FC to Soweto.
DStv Premiership weekend fixtures
Friday 20 January
19:30: Cape Town City v TS Galaxy
19:30: Sekhukhune United v Swallows FC
Saturday 21 January
15:30: Golden Arrows v Maritzburg United
15:30: Royal AM v Chippa United
20:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns
20:00: AmaZulu v Marumo Gallants
Sunday 22 January
15:30: Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC
17:30: SuperSport United v Richards Bay