JOHANNESBURG – ABSA Premiership pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns, likely to end the year on top of the standings, are eager to cement their position as favourites to clinch the title when they host Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday.
Kickoff is 15h30 at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria.
Record champions Sundowns lead the table with 25 points from 12 games while fifth-placed Celtic, also playing catch-up with two games behind the rest of the teams, have collected 19 points from 12 games to emerge another serious contender for the 2017/18 Absa title.
Downs will finish the year on top if they get at least a draw against the visitors from the Free State Province.
Sundowns, to continue their winning streak will be looking forward to their impressive trio of Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Khama Billiat to maintain pole position.
Tau is the Sundowns top goalscorer with five goals followed by Billiat, Zwane and Hlompho Kekana with three goals apiece.
However, Celtic will be no pushovers as they have dependable goalkeeper in captain Patrick Tignyemb, the Cameroonian who has again led the way.
Celtic defence is also tightened by Zimbabwean left back Ronald Pfumbidzai, who in his debut campaign has proved effective on the overlap.
Upfront Celtic have Ndumiso Mabhena and Roggert Nyundu while Lucky Baloyi, Alfred Ndengane, Tshepo Rikhotso and Robert Sankara can upset the log leaders.
Fumbling defending champions Bidvest Wits host a revived Platinum Stars in what could be another match of this weekend’s ties at Bidvest Stadium in a 20h15 kickoff.
Wits anchor the 16-team league log while Stars are 15th despite a mini-revival host 15th position.
Earlier, seventh-placed Free State Stars host an unreliable Orlando Pirates at Goble Park.
Stars could leap to second with a victory over third-placed Pirates, provided fourth-placed Kaizer Chiefs, who host Ajax Cape Town at Moses Mabhidha Stadium in Durban lose while Chippa United on sixth entertain Polokwane City.
The league takes a festive season break next Wednesday and would resume on January 5.
FULL WEEKEND FIXTURE:
SATURDAY, December 16
15h30 Mamelodi Sundowns vs Bloemfontein Celtic
15h30 Chippa United vs Polokwane City
18h00 Free State Stars vs Orlando Pirates
20h15 Bidvest Wits vs Platinum Stars
20h15 Kaizer Chiefs vs Ajax Cape Town
SUNDAY, December 17
15h30 Baroka FC vs SuperSport United
1h:30 Golden Arrows vs Maritzburg United.
– CAJ News