Chiefs fight for second, Swallows fight to survive

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This weekend's DStv Premiership action sees Swallows and Baroka continue their fight for survival, while Kaizer Chiefs have their sights set on second place.
Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows get the ball rolling on Friday evening at the Harry Gwala Stadium. The Team of Choice halted a 10-match winless streak when they beat SuperSport United 2-1 on Tuesday, February 15, to move up to 12th position. Abafana Bes'thende remain unmoved in 10th spot after suffering their first defeat in 10 games with a 1-0 reverse at home to Cape Town City.
Arrows head coach Lehlohonolo Seema admits they were made to pay for not taking their chances against the Citizens, who won courtesy of Khanyisa Mayo's 78th-minute free-kick.
"They need to learn that the chances we get if we are not using them they can come and haunt us," Seema said. "Now it's really tight and it's getting tougher and tougher for them but we have to pick them up, Friday is a toughie."
In the early kick-off on Saturday, Chippa United will be seeking their first win in four outings when they welcome Marumo Gallants to the Sisa Dukashe Stadium. The Chilli Boys (13th) find themselves just two points clear of the relegation places after a 2-2 home draw against Royal AM on Saturday. Bahlabane Ba Ntwa (11th) have not played in the league since the 1-1 draw away to Mamelodi Sundowns on December 23, which extended their winless run to four encounters.

Dikgang Mabalane
Image copyright: Getty Images

Chippa head coach Kurt Lentjies couldn't fault his players for their efforts against Thwihli Thwahla, but was disappointed to squander a two-goal lead. 
"Two-nil is the most dangerous scoreline in a football match, I'd rather prefer leading (by) one," Lentjies said. "But the guys gave their all, you can't ask for more from an effort point of view.
"But if you had said before kick-off we'll take a point out of this I would have probably said yes, but from 2-0 up to 2-2 at the end it's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow."
Swallows will have another go at trying to escape the drop zone when they take on Sekhukhune United at Ellis Park. The Dube Birds lost 1-0 to TS Galaxy on Saturday to slip back to 15th position, while Babina Noko thrashed basement Boys Baroka 24 hours later to climb up to seventh in the standings, two points shy of the top-three.
Swallows head coach Dylan Kerr feels a lack of team spirit is what's holding them back as he reckons there is enough quality in the squad to perform at a higher level than they are currently.
"I've been in this situation three times before with 10 games to play I needed five results and it's actually been worse because the other three teams weren't of the quality that Swallows have got," Kerr said.
"But the problem is, on the other hand, the team spirit and the camaraderie and the togetherness of the other teams was there."
Kaizer Chiefs will be determined to get their challenge for CAF Champions League football back on track when they face rock-bottom Baroka at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in the late kick-off. Amakhosi started the New Year with a goalless draw away to Cape Town City on Tuesday, February 15, and they are two points off second-placed Orlando PIrates in fifth spot. Bakgaga crashed to a heavy 4-0 defeat to Sekhukhune United last time out to leave them three points adrift of safety.
Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter admitted his frontline didn't get enough support to really trouble the Citizens and suggested the pitch played a part in that.
"I think we asked a lot of questions with our movement and with our build-up play and around the box we were still quite good, but we didn't get enough movement around our front three and the service into them on a difficult pitch was always very hard," Baxter said.
In the only fixture scheduled for Sunday, Royal AM will attempt to put pressure on the Buccaneers when they clash with SuperSport United at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium. John Maduka's side remain unbeaten in 2022 after beating Sekhukhune 1-0 and drawing 2-2 with Chippa to trail Pirates by just one point in third place. Matsatsantsa dropped to eighth in the table after losing 2-1 away to Maritzburg, which halted a two-game unbeaten run.

Friday's DStv Premiership fixtures:

19h30: Maritzburg United v Golden Arrows

Saturday's DStv Premiership fixtures:

15h30: Chippa United v Marumo Gallants
17h30: Sekhukhune United v Swallows
19h30: Baroka v Kaizer Chiefs

Sunday's DStv Premiership fixtures:

15h30: SuperSport United v Royal AM

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Published: 02/24/2022