Friday Feb 17, 2023. 11:00
With runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns absent from this weekend’s DStv Premiership action, the race for second place will take centre stage over six matches spread from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 March.
Heading into the weekend, SuperSport United hold second spot with 32 points, but they are in a four-way race for the runners-up spot, with third-placed Richards Bay just one point behind, while the heavyweight Soweto duo of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are each three points further back in fourth and fifth respectively.
The Buccaneers will be first up, hosting Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on Friday night and looking to continue a run of form which has seen them claim four wins from their last five matches across all competitions (the only exception being a narrow defeat at the hands of Sundowns).
“We have a new coach [Jose Riveiro, who will be suspended after a red card in their Nedbank Cup win over All Stars last weekend] and maybe he’s still instilling his own philosophy on the team and the club as a whole, but we are better now so it’s going really well and we’re building something really good,” said Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine.
Saturday then sees SuperSport United and Richards Bay face testing away games against Royal AM and Sekhukhune United respectively, before AmaZulu host TS Galaxy at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
SuperSport come into their clash having suffered an embarrassing 2-1 loss at the hands of third-tier Dondol Stars in the Nedbank Cup last time out, but coach Gavin Hunt defended his decision to rest several regular starters.
“We gave people a chance. We have players under different circumstances. We still have a long season and we put players out there and should be good enough to win the game. Given a chance and you have to take it,” said Hunt.
“It is not an excuse, we had enough chances to win the game and we didn’t take them. Players were given a chance and I must take the blame but you have to believe that players were good enough to do the job.”
Sunday features Kaizer Chiefs hosting Golden Arrows in Polokwane, before Cape Town City and Swallows FC clash in the ‘Mother City’ to round out the weekend’s action.
The Amakhosi have also found some form of late (three unbeaten across all competitions, fresh from a 2-0 win over Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup) though coach Arthur Zwane has bemoaned a growing injury list.
“We’re always looking for that. And unfortunately, we haven’t been lucky when it comes to that,” said the Chiefs tactician. “We’ve been unfortunate due to injuries as I’ve been saying. But we don’t have a choice, we gonna have to soldier on and focus on the positives.”
DStv Premiership weekend fixtures
Friday 17 February
19:30: Orlando Pirates v Maritzburg United
Saturday 18 February
15:30: Royal AM v SuperSport United
17:30: Sekhukhune United v Richards Bay
20:00: AmaZulu v TS Galaxy
Sunday 19 February
15:30: Kaizer Chiefs v Golden Arrows
17:30: Cape Town City v Swallows FC