Absa Premiership mid-week preview

A big week lies ahead in the Absa Premiership title race as both Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates have a golden opportunity to close in on spectating leaders Kaizer Chiefs when the league resumes on Tuesday.

Amakhosi, who have played a game more than everyone else, are not in action, but before the focus shifts to the top end of the table, a relegation six-pointer kicks off proceedings with second-bottom Black Leopards hosting third-bottom Ajax Cape Town at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 24 hours earlier.

Lidoda Duvha currently have 20 points, four more than basement side Chippa United, while the Urban Warriors are presently on 23 points.

The match is the only one on Tuesday, while on Wednesday, the Chilli Boys, without a coach after the dismissal of Wilfred Mugeyi, take on seventh-place Moroka Swallows (32) at the Philippi Stadium.

At the other end of the stick, Cavin Johnson’s Stars, presently on 45 points, can close to within four point of the leaders (52) if they overcome Bidvest Wits (34) in fifth at the Bidvest Stadium.

Any potential slip-up from Dikwena, who should be buoyed for the showdown after upsetting Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup over the weekend, could profit faltering Orlando Pirates (also 45), although the Buccaneers do face a tough journey to Free State Stars.

That game is scheduled for the Charles Mopeli Stadium where Steve Komphela’s men will be aiming to win for the first time since late February – a run that has seen them drop to eighth.

Roger de Sa’s defending champions are themselves on a wretched run and are without a win in six games.

Elsewhere, 11th-placed Sundowns and 10th place Bloemfontein Celtic, who also lost in the cup quarter-finals at the weekend, have the opportunity to bounce back from their losses with matches against University of Pretoria, in ninth, and AmaZulu, in 13th, respectively.

The Brazilians will play their local derby at Loftus Stadium, while Siwelele have to travel to the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Also in KwaZulu-Natal, another local derby looms with Maritzburg United to host Lamontville Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium, scene of their Nedbank Cup loss to SuperSport United over the past weekend.

Gavin Hunt’s men are not in action due to their trip into Africa for CAF Confederation Cup action.