Friday Dec 29, 2023. 11:00
The final DStv Premiership action of the year 2023 – and until the league’s resumption in February after the Africa Cup of Nations – will be headlined by a Cape Town derby.
Cape Town Spurs and Cape Town City will meet at the DHL Stadium in ‘The Mother City’ for the lone match scheduled for Sunday 31 December, with the two clubs having radically different campaigns thus far.
The Urban Warriors have managed just one win from 15 matches and are marooned at the bottom of the log, seemingly destined for direct relegation back to the second tier Motsepe Foundation Championship.
The Citizens, meanwhile, are one of the front-runners to be the ‘best of the rest’ behind champions and log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, and could finish the year in second place if SuperSport United slip up in their clash away to Richards Bay on Saturday.
In fact, Eric Tinkler’s City already have the distinction of being the first team to take points off of Sundowns this season, holding the Brazilians to a 0-0 draw last weekend.
“[We] needed to play with a lot of energy and intensity. And that’s not easy against a quality team like Mamelodi Sundowns,” said Tinkler.
“They’re a team that is extremely comfortable on the ball, with a lot of ability, and a lot of confidence.“So we needed to be extremely brave in terms of our pressing strategy, but I thought players applied it exceptionally well. Just the final product was lacking.”
City will also be chasing a ‘double’ over the club formerly known as Ajax Cape Town, having claimed a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph when the teams met back in late September.
The weekend’s action opens with a double dose of matches on Friday evening, as AmaZulu and Royal AM meet for a KwaZulu-Natal derby, before Orlando Pirates and Stellenbosch FC meet in Soweto.
The Buccaneers will be aiming to bounce back from a loss to SuperSport just before Christmas.
“It’s painful and that’s a good thing that it’s painful,” said Pirates coach Jose Riveiro. “It’s painful for all of us that we were winning a lot of games recently and it [losing against SuperSport] is not helping us because we are a winning team. We have to win games.
“It’s not in our minds that it’s normal to lose every six games — we want to win every game.”
Saturday sees SuperSport away to Richards Bay in one of three afternoon kick-offs (TS Galaxy and Moroka Swallows host Chippa United and Golden Arrows respectively), before an early evening clash pitting Mamelodi Sundowns against Polokwane City – with the champions ending 2023 as the log leaders regardless of the result against Rise and Shine.
Saturday’s late kick-off comes from the Peter Mokaba Stadium and sees Kaizer Chiefs looking to continue their good form (they have recorded three successive 1-0 wins) when they face hosts Sekhukhune United.
“That is the cohesion you need to have in the team with the magnitude of Kaizer Chiefs, we spotted it, I see it as well, we need to get there [bullying] teams but to get there is difficult, like I said we were bullied at the start of the season,” said Amakhosi coach Cavin Johnson.
“Now after three games, maybe the bullying is over, maybe we [are] going to get more confident, based on what we do on the training pitch.”
DStv Premiership weekend fixtures
Friday 29 December
17:45: AmaZulu v Royal AM
20:00: Orlando Pirates v Stellenbosch FC
Saturday 30 December
15:30: TS Galaxy v Chippa United
15:30: Moroka Swallows v Golden Arrows
15:30: Richards Bay v SuperSport United
17:45: Mamelodi Sundowns v Polokwane City
20:00: Sekhukhune United v Kaizer Chiefs
Sunday 31 December
15:30: Cape Town Spurs v Cape Town City