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Football | Absa Premiership

Gavin Hunt © Gallo Images

Wits, Celtic out to prove title credentials

Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic will both be looking to prove their Absa Premiership title credentials when the teams meet at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 8.15pm CAT.

Wits picked up their sixth win in 10 matches when they defeated Highlands Park 1-0 at home on October 26, with Thulani Hlatshwayo scoring the decisive goal for the Johannesburg team.

The Clever Boys have claimed nine points from five home matches this season. Both SuperSport United and Polokwane City have come away from Milpark with three points in 2018/19.

Celtic returned to winning form (ending a three-match dry spell) with a 1-0 victory at home to Baroka FC on October 28 – Ronald Pfumbidzai scored in injury time for Steve Komphela’s team.

Phunya Sele Sele have claimed seven points from four away matches this season. Their last result on the road was a 2-0 loss at regional rivals Free State Stars in early October.

In head-to-head stats, Celtic and Wits have met in 57 league matches since 1985. The Clever Boys have claimed 24 wins compared to 18 for Phunya Sele Sele, while 15 matches have been drawn. The Johannesburg side has claimed 16 wins from 29 home matches in the rivalry, suffering five defeats in the process.

In the teams’ league meetings last season, Celtic won 1-0 in Bloemfontein in October 2017 thanks to a goal from Roggert Nyundu, while the return game in Johannesburg in January 2018 saw Wits win 1-0 via a penalty from James Keene.

What the teams are saying

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt

"If you get knocked out of the Telkom [Knockout] Cup [in the first round], you don't play football for two months. [However], we have another game now,” said Hunt after his side’s win over Maritzburg United in cup football this past weekend.

"After the [October] Fifa break, there's been a bit of continuity. The cup is a greater leveller in South Africa or anywhere else in the world because you'll get some upsets."

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela

“Mindset is big, everything is mental,” said Celtic’s coach after their last-gasp win over Baroka.

“Because if you start thinking negative, or feeling negative at all, it won’t help you, because the outcome of your behaviour comes from how you feel and how you think. So we need to stay positive. We have to understand that this is where we can be revealed or be buried.”

Bidvest Wits keys players

Buhle Mkhwanazi – The tough central defender showed his attacking instincts with a goal in Wits’ win over Maritzburg United in the Telkom Knockout this past weekend. He’ll be looking for another strong showing when Celtic come to Milpark.

Simon Murray – The Scottish forward has made a promising start to life in South African football and will be hoping to return to scoring form when the Clever Boys welcome the Team of Choice for this Saturday night clash.

Bloemfontein Celtic key players

Ronald Pfumbidzai – The left wingback scored the last-gasp goal in Celtic’s win over Baroka at the end of October, and he seems to have re-established himself as a key feature of the Phunya Sele Sele team.

Lantshene Phalane – An all-action midfielder, Lantshene Phalane has been one of the driving forces behind Celtic’s good form this season and he will be keen to make life tough for his Wits counterparts at Bidvest Stadium.


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