Final act in PSL thriller
Can Birds spoil Bucs' treble celebrations?
IF WE WERE to choose a slogan to describe tomorrow's Premier Soccer League grand finale, we would steal from the famous MTN8 tag-line, Wafa Wafa.
Indeed, kuzofiwa in KwaZulu-Natal tomorrow.
Though the title race is a two-horse affair between holders and log leaders Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows, who are two points behind them, it has all the hallmarks of a thrill-a-minute affair.
The Buccaneers travel to Durban for a date with Lamontville Golden Arrows as favourites to triumph at Moses Mabhida Stadium, while the Beautiful Birds fly to Pietermaritzburg to engage the unstable Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium.
All the matches tomorrow will kick off at 3pm.
Pirates go into their match with a psychological edge after they beat Arrows 2-1 in their final match of last season to lift the championship trophy. They also had the better of Abafana Be'sthende in the first round of this season, beating them 2-0 with second-half goals from Isaac Chansa and Tokelo Rantie in Soweto on December 21.
Swallows hosted the Team of Choice in Soweto on the same day and Siyabonga Nomvethe saved Gordon Igesund's side from blushes with an 89th-minute equaliser.
But the PSL trophy is Pirates' to lose and should they follow the form book, Augusto Palacios's side will make history by becoming the first team in the Premiership to win two trebles on the trot.
Swallows, who were once described by commentators as enfeebled after a catastrophic sequence of results last term, will lift their first Premiership trophy if they win and Pirates falter in Durban.
The scenario will see the Birds flying to the summit of the table on 56 points and Pirates relegated to second spot on 55.
Fourth-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, whose title ambitions foundered after losing 1-0 to SuperSport United last Saturday, will unseat Matsatsantsa from third spot if they beat Free State Stars in Atteridgeville and Gavin Hunt's side lose at Bloemfontein Celtic in Botshabelo.
The Brazilians and Kaizer Chiefs have 49 points apiece but Johan Neeskens's side enjoy a superior goal difference over the resurgent Amakhosi and United, with 51 points.
Meanwhile, the battle for a top-eight finish has not been won yet as Ajax Cape Town can still sneak in if they beat relegation-threatened Black Leopards in Polokwane and AmaZulu lose to Chiefs at Soccer City. Celtic would then miss out on a top-eight finish.
The fight for Premiership survival is now between Leopards and Santos. Jomo Cosmos, as expected, were sent back to the National First Division for the umpteenth time on Wednesday after a 2-all draw with Lidoda Duvha.
If Leopards beat Ajax, Santos's hopes of survival will be left to the play-offs, even if they beat Ezenkosi.
What a finale!
PSL and Absa negotiate new deal
THIS is likely to be the last time the Absa Premiership champs will pocket R10million as the contract between the bank and PSL is up for renewal.
The PSL team, led by chairman Irvin Khoza, is expected to push for a bigger slice in negotiations for a new deal.
While the battle for the R10million prize will be decided between Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows in KwaZulu-Natal tomorrow - where Pirates play Arrows and Swallows take on Maritzburg United.
l Absa has confirmed they were negotiating a new deal.
Breakdown of the Premiership prize: