A few weeks ago the PSL championship race seemed to be a one-horse race with Pretoria powerhouse Mamelodi Sundowns charging to another championship. But credit must be given to the chasing pack for the fighting spirit that they have shown, and ensure that things will go right down to the wire. Currently, 5 points separate the top 6 teams. The 2018/19 has been unpredictable, and it will take a brave man to pick a winner. Well, time to be brave.

1. Orlando Pirates

P 25 W 11 D 11 L 3 GD 13 PTS 44

It has been an incredibly frustrating season for the Buccaneers fans as well as coach Milutin Sredojevic, popularly known as Micho. Which seems like a strange statement considering they currently occupy 1st place. In the majority of their matches, Pirates have outplayed the opposition, but wastefulness in front of goal has been the theme. 11 draws tells its own story. There’s no better illustration of this profligacy then the Telkom Cup Final against Baroka in December. Despite having 22 shots on goal, two goalkeeping errors gifted Baroka 2 goals. Forcing Pirates to fight back twice, all this despite being reduced to 10 men late in the first half. A penalty shootout loss finally put the men in blackout of their misery. Penalty misery also followed the Sea Robbers in the Nedbank Cup where they were knocked out by Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium. Pirates failed to progress from the group stage in the CAF Champions League. In spite of themselves, the Bucs are still in the running to win the Premiership. The Buccaneers picked up 4 points from their last 2 matches against the other top 3 contenders, Sundowns and Wits. The win against Wits, in particular, was rather fortunate, the winner coming via an own goal in injury time.

My prediction: 2nd

2. Mamelodi Sundowns

P 24 W 11 D 11 L 2 GD 12 PTS 44

Under coach Pitso Mosimane, Masandawana have dominated South African football. 3 Premierships, 1 Telkom Cup, 1 Nedbank Cup, all within the last 5 years, and of course the clubs unforgettable first CAF Champions League triumph in 2016. Questions were asked whether the champions would be able to retain the Premiership after the departure of Player of the Year and Bafana hero Percy Tau to EPL club Brighton & Hove Albion. Not only are the Brazilians still in the mix, but they are also through to knockout out stages of the Champions League where they decimated Egyptian giants Al Ahly 5-0 in the first leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium. Sundowns are not just a South African powerhouse, but an African powerhouse. And they do not show any signs of slowing down, regardless of any changes in personnel. Sundowns still have a tough Tshwane derby against Supersport United to navigate, and you know what they say about derbies, form goes out the window. Bet against the Brazilians at your own peril.

My prediction: 1st

3. Bidvest Wits

P 25 W 12 D 5 L 8 GD 10 PTS 41

Topsy turvy doesn’t even begin to describe Wits in the last 3 years. Wits won the PSL in the 2016/17 season, with the viral video of coach Gavin Hunt dancing with a beer in hand. Last season, as the defending champions, the Clever Boys found themselves in a relegation battle. Fortunately for the football club, they survived that potential catastrophe. And now, they are back in the title picture. Hunt is an experienced coach and knows what it takes to win the league, having done so 3 times with Supersport United, and as previously mentioned with Wits 2 years ago. Wits are not going to give this up easily, as evidenced by their come from behind win against Bloemfontein Celtic before the international break. But Wits form has taken a downturn at a bad with 3 defeats in their last 5 matches, including a Keegan Ritchie own goal which condemned them to defeat with virtually the last kick (or head) of the game against title rivals Orlando Pirates. Hunt still has to face his old club SuperSport United before the end of the season, who could end up denying Wits the Premiership. Imagine that.

My prediction: 3rd

4. Cape Town City

P 25 W 11 D 7 L 7 GD 8 PTS 40

It’s hard to believe South Africa’s second biggest city currently only has 1 team in the top flight. Under Benni McCarthy, City have done Cape Town proud, winning the Telkom Cup in 2016, and the MTN 8 last year. City also had a big March, beating both Sundowns and Wits to ensure they are still amongst the contenders. But City will be smarting from their Nedbank Cup Quarterfinal defeat against Kaizer Chiefs. It will be a tough ask for The Blue and Gold Army to pick themselves for the challenges that lie ahead. But Benni McCarthy is as fierce a competitor as anyone, and he will be demanding his team fight till the very end.

My prediction: 4th

5. Polokwane City

P 25 W 10 D 10 L 5 GD 7 PTS 40

The surprise package of the season. Rise and Shine would have been on most people’s list of relegation favourites, but with 5 matches remaining they find themselves 4 points of top spot. Now the reality of the situation is that Polokwane City need an awful lot to go wrong for the top 4 teams above them. But doing the improbable is what the Limpopo Province outfit seem to thrive on.

My prediction: 6th

6. SuperSport United

P 24 W 11 D 6 L 7 GD 4 PTS 39

Matsatsantsa have quietly gone about their business, lurking in the shadows, and now find themselves 5 points behind Pretoria rivals Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. SuperSport United are perennial title contenders, enjoying the financial backing of multimedia giant Multichoice. United will play Sundowns in the Tshwane derby on the 7th of April in a match they simply have to win, that’s if they have any ambition of winning the Premiership, which I’m sure they do.

My prediction: 5th

Let me hear your predictions in the comments section below or on Facebook.

Sizwe Luthayi

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