It’s anyone’s game … it all comes down to who wants it most?
Ernst Middendorp will enter into uncharted territory on Saturday compared to his championship counterpart Pitso Mosimane, but he’s well aware they’ll both need something special if either of them are to claim the ultimate prize.
Middendorp’s Kaizer Chiefs currently sits atop of the Premiership standings with 56 points after the penultimate round of matches. But what stands between them and the championship is a win against a desperate relegation-threatened Baroka FC.
However, second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who are coached by multiple championship winning coach Mosimane, are also right at the thick of things as they are level on 56 points but adrift due to a three-goal deficit.
The Brazilians, however, also face tough customers in their finale as they’ll cross path with a Black Leopards team, who are also languishing in the doldrums of relegation.
Lidoda Duvha are 14th on the standings with 29 points – one point and spot ahead of Baroka.
Well, it can only be either Chiefs or Sundowns that will be crowned champions when the final whistle sounds at Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium after the simultaneous 3:30pm kick-offs.
But Middendorp says no match will be easy for either side.
“It’s a very competitive last match-day. We have Baroka FC who are in 15th position and Sundowns have to compete with Black Leopards, who are one point and position ahead of Baroka,” Middendorp, who’s chasing for his first Premiership title, acknowledged.
“With both relegation-threatened teams sitting where they are, they cannot just go to the game and give it away. We’ll see on both locations the kind of fighting spirit that will come out.
“And that will probably decide what will come out at the end of day.”
What the championship hopefuls also have in common is that both Chiefs and Sundowns are coming from gruelling fixtures in the penultimate round as they had to ensure the race went down to the wire after winning their matches against Chippa United and Polokwane City respectively.
The Brazilians made things look easy on their side, winning 3-0 against City – thanks to goals from Anele Ngcongca, Themba Zwane and Keletso Makgalwa.
Rise and Shine’s loss all but guaranteed them automatic relegation this season.
Chiefs, on the other hand, laboured for their 1-0 victory that was inspired by Khama Billiat’s goal.
Chilli Boys’ Elvis Moyo looked to have grabbed the equaliser for his team but referee Cedric Muvhali judged for an infringement on goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. But TV replay showed that the Chiefs’ captain tripped on his own defender. However, it was a nervy finish against a nine-man Chippa that questioned Chiefs’ credentials as the champions-elect.