Johannesburg – The league title might have already been won and automatic relegation also decided, but there is still a lot to play for in the final round of the fixtures.
Three things will happen on Saturday when the curtain falls on the Absa Premiership season.
The CAF Confederation Cup slots are still up for grabs, two top-eight positions are still available and, most importantly, the National First Division (NFD) play-offs spots will be decided.
The top goal scorer award is still in the air with two players – Rodney Ramagalela and Percy Tau – tied on 11 goals.
Mamelodi Sundowns will be handed the Absa Premiership trophy after their match against Bloemfontein Celtic. Platinum Stars will play their last game in the elite league before bowing down to NFD.
CAF Confederation Cup
The battle for the third spot is between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United. Amakhosis victory over United last week resulted in the two sides swapping their positions on the log table, with Chiefs now in pole position to secure the spot. They need to beat Ajax Cape Town to go back to continental club competition. But even if United do not finish third, they will get another chance of playing on the continent if they win the Nedbank Cup final against Free State Stars next weekend.
Two spots are up for grabs for next seasons MTN8. Regardless of what happens on Saturday, six teams – Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Chiefs, Maritzburg, Cape Town City and Free State Stars – have secured their spots.
Golden Arrows and Chippa United, which are fighting for the two remaining spots, would have to win their games to guarantee a top-eight finish. Finishing in the top eight would be an achievement for the two sides after what they have been through this season. Chippa are on their third coach – Vladislav Heric – after getting rid of Dan Malesela and Teboho Moloi. The Serb has stabilised the side and a win over Polokwane City will secure a top-eight spot. Arrows have gone through a rough patch this season and recovered only in the past few games. Clinton Larsen needs a win in their KwaZulu-Natal derby against Maritzburg United.
It is still very much up in the air with regards to who will be heading into the relegation play-offs with four teams still not assured of their status and needing to get maximum points on Saturday. Ajax, SuperSport United, Polokwane City and Baroka are all in danger of contesting the play-offs with Jomo Cosmos and the third team to be decided this afternoon.
Ajax vs Chiefs
Ajax have to beat Amakhosi to stand a good chance of avoiding going through the play-offs process. Chiefs need the three points to secure the Confederation Cup.
SuperSport vs Baroka
Only two points separate the two teams and a victory for either side will be enough to secure their status for another season. But a loss for either side and a win for Ajax would mean the loser could go to the play-offs. Interestingly, Baroka could end up in the top eight if they win their encounter. It would be interesting to see who, of the two caretaker coaches, Kaitano Tembo and Doctor Khumalo, would prevail.
Polokwane City vs Chippa United
City are in danger of being sucked into the play-offs spot if they fail to get at least a draw at home. A draw could suffice because of their better goal difference, depending on the score between Ajax and Chiefs. United also need the three points to safeguard their top-eight position.