PREMIERSHIP REBOOT | THE DROPOUTS
The Absa Premiership returns next Tuesday. MINENHLE MKHIZE assesses the chances of the bottom four clubs and who will remain in the elite division
COACH: Mongezi Bobe | KEY PLAYER: Thabo Matlaba STRENGTHS: They have scored more goals than any of their rivals in the relegation dogfight but the problem has been their inability to keep the opposition at bay. Leopards have collected the majority of their points at home but they will no longer enjoy home-ground advantage because of Covid-19 as all the remaining games will be completed in a ‘bio-bubble’ in Gauteng.
WEAKNESSES: They have been vulnerable at the back, having conceded 36 goals in 24 league matches. They’ve lacked consistency throughout the season and have only won one game away from home.
PREDICTION: Automatic relegation
14th Polokwane City
COACH: Clinton Larsen | KEY PLAYER: Jabu Maluleka STRENGTHS: Polokwane have been decent in front of goal (21). The problem has been an inability to defend their own goal. They have shown that they do possess big match temperament, having defeated Leopards in the derby. They have also won against Chiefs away but consistency has been their problem. WEAKNESSES: They have endured turbulent times at the back this season, having conceded 32 goals, and clean sheets have eluded them. If they want to survive relegation they have to keep opposition teams at bay.
COACH: Ayanda Dlamini | KEY PLAYER: Bongi Ntuli
STRENGTHS: Usuthu have character and they never give up. That’s how they defeated league leaders Kaizer Chiefs before the coronavirus pandemic halted the PSL. It was the same thing against Cape Town City at Princess Magogo Stadium last year. They also went to Orlando Pirates and came back with a point. They’ve just lacked consistency.
WEAKNESSES: Usuthu has struggled for goals, the bulk of them coming from Bongi Ntuli. Only three players have managed to score for Usuthu – Ntuli, Sinethemba Sithebe and Butholezwe Ncube. Ntuli has netted 12 of Usuthu’s
14 goals and if he doesn’t score, the team struggles.
13th Baroka FC
COACH: Dylan Kerr | KEY PLAYER: Elvis Chipezeze
STRENGTHS: Baroka have been solid at the back, where goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze has been the rock. In 24 matches, they have conceded 21 goals. Baroka play good football and they don’t change their style because of their current situation. They have identity, which is why they are in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup.
WEAKNESSES: Their return in front of goal is poor. They create numerous opportunities because of their style of play but they have lacked the killer instinct in front of goal, which has been their major problem all season.