All 16 DSTV premiership teams will be in action this weekend with two matches scheduled for this evening, while others will be played on Saturday and Sunday.
The pick of the weekend is Saturday’s encounter between run-away log leaders and defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, and fourth-placed, Orlando Pirates, at the Orlando stadium.
All eyes will be on this fixture with Sundowns on a 14-match winning streak, while Pirates seem to have rediscovered their form and have won three matches in a row.
Second-placed, Richards Bay, will take on struggling Moroka Swallows at the Dobsonville Stadium at six o’clock this evening.
The Natal rich boys are the surprise package of the season and a win will see them consolidate their place below Sundowns on the standings, while the 15th-placed Dube Birds desperately need a win to start moving away from the relegation zone.
Maritzburg United will then host Amazulu in a KZN Derby at the Harry Gwala Stadium at half past seven.
Sundowns will want nothing less than maximum points when they take on a resurgent Pirates on Saturday afternoon in Soweto.
Downs have a busy schedule this month with their Nedbank Cup round of 32 fixture against Richards Bay scheduled for Tuesday before they play Sudan’s Al Hilal in a CAF Champions League group match at the Loftus Versfeld stadium four days later.
They will then travel to Cameroon where they will play another CAF group against Cotonsport.
But Downs keeper, Dennis Onyango, says their focus is firmly on Saturday’s match against Pirates.
“Next week, I believe it’s going to be very tough for us. Of course, it’s a very tough month for us, but we take one game at a time. We cannot think about Champions League now. For now, we’re really focused on Pirates.”
While Downs dominated Pirates in their last league match in December beating them 2-0, Onyango says they expect a tough match on Saturday.
“We know is going to be a very difficult game away from home but we must just give our best because everyone is fresh and ready we expect a good encounter.”
Sundowns have looked unstoppable this season, with their quality players brushing the opposition aside, but matches between them and Pirates have been tight.
However, Sundowns ran rings around Pirates in their last league encounter. But Pirates have rediscovered their form of late and scored nine goals in their last three matches.
Pirates’ duo of Thapelo Xoki and Bandile Shandu believe they have what it takes to bag maximum points on Saturday.
“We have good players at Orlando Pirates. So, we are more than capable. As long as we follow the coach’s instructions the result will take care of itself. They are a team on form, but we also on form. They are leaders of the log. We are all trying to catch up with them. We are playing for maximum points and have to make sure to collect them,” says Xoki.
In the only fixture scheduled for Sunday, Kaizer Chiefs will be hoping for a second consecutive win when they take on TS Galaxy at the Mbombela Stadium.
Chiefs might be in 5th place on the log, but have not been convincing and need a win over the 10th-placed Rockets to prove to their multitudes of fans that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.