Top clubs neck and neck

2018-12-05 06:01
Bloemfontein Young Tigers midfielder Kabelo Rapulane (red) has his eyes on the ball. Photo: Teboho Setena

Bloemfontein Young Tigers midfielder Kabelo Rapulane (red) has his eyes on the ball. Photo: Teboho Setena

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The Free State stream of the ABC Motsepe League has become a four-horse race with the competition due to complete the first round.

In the mix of the hotly contested championship are two Bloemfontein clubs, Mangaung Unite and Bloemfontein Young Tigers.

The other two clubs in the chasing pack are Welkom-based Sibanye Golden Stars and Harmony.

Four points separate three teams and the current leaders Mangaung, who are the only undefeated side of the 15 competing in the second-tier football competition.

The top-seeded clubs have the potential of snatching up the provincial title, depending on their form in the second round of the league.

Current leaders, Mangaung (32 points), are followed by Tigers (28), Harmony (27) and Stars (26).

Mangaung are the 2017-’18 champions and find themselves in this rank after they failed to gain promotion to the National First Division League.

The log-leaders are charged by former Bloemfontein Celtic goalkeeper Gabriel Ndjerengo.

He took over at the start of the 2018-’19 season, re­placing Queen Modutoane, who led Mangaung to their maiden national promotion play-offs.

Tigers and Harmony have both lost once, while Stars have two losses after 12 matches played.

Tigers, owned by British Khoarai, have done exceptionally well to claw their way to the top bracket after a jittery start to the season. They have giant-leaped over five teams to claim the second spot behind Mangaung.

In this just-ended season of 2017-’18, Tigers finished as the runner-up to arch-rivals Mangaung.

The current rich vein of form of Khoarai’s lads suggests they would strive to avoid a repeat of the previous season 2017-’18.

As things stand, Mangaung and Tigers have the added edge of superior goals over their competitors.

Mangaung have netted 26 goals, while Tigers have banged in 22 goals. With victories in their forthcoming matches, the Bloemfontein teams could drift away from fellow contenders, Harmony and Stars.

Tigers will host relegation-bound Days FC in Botshabelo while Mangaung travel to Dijabatho in Viljoenskoon.

Tigers are depending on talented players to plot success in the championship.

These include the likes of striker Pule Motsetse and experienced midfielder Kabelo Rapulane.

The intriguing derby between Harmony and Stars, set for today (05/12), is likely to also benefit Tigers and Mangaung.

Victory would propel either Harmony or Stars to second position and close in on log leaders Mangaung.

The derby takes place at the Zoka Baloyi Stadium in Welkom. Kick-off is at 15:00.

  • Fixtures: Kovsies vs Mpha­tlalatsane United; Knowledge Glen vs Small Tigers; Dla2 FC vs Bloemfontein Celtic; Dikwena United vs Central University of Technology; Free State Stars vs Super Eagles.
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