Competition enters home

2020-01-15 06:00
D'General FC Tshepo Motlomelo (black) tussles for the ball with Mangaung Unite's Phemelo Phokontsi during their teams ABC Motsepe League first round fixture played at Clive Solomon Stadium last Saturday. Mangaung won 1-0. Photo: Teboho Setena

D'General FC Tshepo Motlomelo (black) tussles for the ball with Mangaung Unite's Phemelo Phokontsi during their teams ABC Motsepe League first round fixture played at Clive Solomon Stadium last Saturday. Mangaung won 1-0. Photo: Teboho Setena

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As the 16 clubs contesting for the Free State’s ABC Motsepe League title enter the home stretch, four of them have the potential to win the race. The four favourites ensured they remain in the top five bracket the entire first round of the football competition which this week enters the home stretch.

The strong contenders are current champions Mangaung Unite (39 points), Super Eagles (37 points), Bloemfontein Young Tigers (33 points) and D’ General FC (28 points). Their fate is in their hands and this will be determined by their performance in return league fixtures of the competition which started the second-round last weekend of 11 January.

The difference is two and six points between the top-seeded clubs, Mangaung, Eagles and Tigers. Given their standing on the log one of them is likely to win the provincial championship and qualify for promotion play-offs for the National First Division. The promotion play-offs will be later this year after all provincial ABC Motsepe League streams are finished.

Fourth placed D’ General and fifth placed Central University of Technology (CUT), are 11 points and 14 points adrift from the three clubs favoured to win the provincial ABC Motsepe League. Botshabelo-based D’ General, who are the dark horse in the race lost some grounds after losing 0-1 to high-riding Mangaung in a closely contested return fixture played at the Clive Solomon Stadium in Bloemfontein last Saturday (01/11). The result boosted the confidence of the Free State two-time winners Mangaung, who appear upbeat about the prospect to win the competition third time in a row pursue of their ultimate quest to gain promotion to the National First Division, currently the GladAfrica Championship for sponsorship reasons. The league is second highest league of South African club football after the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Bethlehem-based Eagles, who had a brief stint in the NFD during the 2017-’18 season remain intact in the hotly contested race. Both Mangaung and Eagles have each lost one game thus far - (0-1 to Tigers and 1-4 to Caledon FC), respectively. Tigers three defeats were against Kovsie (0-2), D’General (0-1) and Eagles (1-2), respectively.

Of the eagerly-awaited fixtures is the return leg derby between Tigers and newcomers Questus FC, who will be hoping to revenge their narrow 0-1 loss in the first leg. The game will be at the Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium in Botshabelo. Kick-off is at 13:00. Questus are oozing some confidence ahead of the outing after demolishing Caledon 7-2 in a fixture played at the Clive Solomon Stadium last Saturday (01/11). The result intensified the chances to avoid the dread relegation at the end of the current season.

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