The mid-table clash between Wits and the seventh-placed Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday should provide ample insight as to how the two-and-a-half week break affected the teams. With a win, Wits could draw level on 43 points with Pirates in third place, but still behind on goal difference.
Mathematically, The Clever Boys still have a chance of winning the league. If they win their remaining matches, Wits can reach 61 points. One of those contests include welcoming Orlando Pirates to Bidvest Stadium, and a victory over the much-fancied Sea-Robbers could well determine which team finishes the season in third.
Realistically, Wits cannot entertain thoughts of winning the league as it would require an abysmal run of form from the table-topping Kaizer Chiefs and the second placed Mamelodi Sundowns.
For Roger de Sa’s Ajax Cape Town, a trip to Royal Bafokeng Stadium to take on Platiunum Stars could prove a difficult task on Saturday evening. Ajax were fifth on the table with 34 points, but trailed Wits by six points with just seven games remaining in the season.
Stars, meanwhile, were dangerously close to the relegation zone with 24 points from their 22 matches this season. The Rustenburg side were lying in 13th spot, just two points ahead of Free State Stars and Moroka Swallows. Stars famously finished second in the league in the 2012/2013 season under coach Cavin Johnson.
The mentor only just rejoined the side on Tuesday, after the club parted ways with Allan Freese. The return of Johnson could spark a change in fortune for the relegation-threatened outfit, but with little time to turn things around a positive result could prove tricky in his first fixture back in charge.
Johnson was not the only change in management for a Premiership club during the week, with both Moroka Swallows and Chippa United also making alterations to top management.
On Monday, news filtered in that Chippa United had suspended coach Ernst Middendorp pending an investigation, to leave the 12th-placed team on the Premiership log precariously poised with six games remaining in their season.
Mich D’Avray, Chippa’s technical director will take charge until the club finds a permanent replacement as coach.
Lastly, the Birds’ appointed Craig Rosslee at the helm, replacing Fani Madida who quit earlier in the season while Goodman Mazibuko took charge for one match in the interim.
In the early games on Saturday, AmaZulu host Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium and Maritzburg United welcome SuperSport United to Harry Gwala stadium.
On Sunday, Bloemfontein Celtic entertain University of Pretoria.
Saturday: AmaZulu v Free State Stars (Moses Mabhida Stadium), Maritzburg United v SuperSport United (Harry Gwala Stadium), Platinum Stars v Ajax Cape Town (Royal Bafokeng Stadium), Polokwane City v Bidvest Wits (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium).
Sunday fixture: Bloemfontein Celtic v University of Pretoria (Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium). – ANA
Original source: Wits can close gap on top three