It’s been 581 days since Kaizer Chiefs last played Wits in a competitive football game. A lot has happened since then. Cast your mind back – Ernst Middendorp had just joined Kaizer Chiefs after Giovanni Solinas had been released as Kaizer Chiefs coach. Pule Ekstein, Lorenzo Gordinho, Virgil Vries and Teenage Hadebe were still all Chiefs players. Muhsin Etrugral was coach of Maritzburg. The thought of the Bidvest Wits PSL franchise being sold was as far off anyone’s mind as the thought of a global pandemic bringing the world to a standstill. That’s how long it has been since the two teams met. Yet, here we are: the two sides meet again tonight in the second league fixture since the league’s restart.
For Wits, it’s a second match in a few days, having lost to Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup over the past weekend. It’s hard to estimate the effect of pre-lockdown form on current games, and even trickier to gauge how home & away form come into the picture, given that all matches are taking place in one province. Should we consider home form, Kaizer Chiefs were not in a good space:
3 – Chiefs were on a run of two successive home defeats when the league was suspended. They have lost 3 home games in a row only twice in the PSL era (once in 2009 and once in 2012).
With eyes set on the title, a 3rd successive home defeat will not bode well for their ambitions. The Glamour Boys will have kept one eye on Sundowns dropping points last night. Middendorp’s team has a chance to stretch their lead at the top to six points with just seven games to play – and allow some breathing space for the title run-in. Others will see last night’s result as Sundowns cutting the lead from four to three points – every point matters in the race.
One cause for concern for the visitors will be Gavin Hunt’s record against the Big Three for Wits. While he’s won eight of the 13 matches over Pirates, he’s only managed 6 wins over both Chiefs and Sundowns since 2012.
25% – Gavin Hunt has won just three of 12 games against Kaizer Chiefs (25% win rate). Only against Sundowns (21%) does he have a lower win percentage.
Chippa v Cape Town City
In March, Cape Town City scored their 150th league goal in the top-flight, in their 113th game – making them the fifth fastest PSL side to reach this milestone. They’ll be looking to continue their form on that front when they play Chippa on Friday night. Their adventurous play has made them a formidable opponent since they joined the league in 2016, but this season has been a rollercoaster.
If there is one side that should be most worried about the removal of ‘home advantage’ by playing all matches in Gauteng, it would be the men from Cape Town. Their away record before the break was the second-worst in the league. Should that away form continue, they may find themselves sucked back into the relegation race (currently 3 points above 15th). On the other hand, playing all games in Gauteng could be a benefit, depending on how quickly they can adapt to the environment and make Gauteng their new home.
0 – Cape Town City are the only side yet to win a game away from home this season.
Highlands Park v Sundowns
The last game of the week will see Sundowns visit Highlands Park on Friday. Highlands Park have been in the top-flight since 2016, but are yet to beat any of Sundowns, Pirates and Chiefs.
0 – Since their first promotion in 20176/17, Highlands Park have played 17 times against Chiefs, Sundowns and Pirates and are yet to win a game (P17 W0 D7 L10).
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By Opta Jabu