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Football | Absa Premiership

Clifford Mulenga (R) and Patrick Phungwayo © Backpagepix

Wits, Celtic in top eight spot fight



Top eight spot chasers Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic will clash at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday afternoon in an Absa Premiership clash, kick-off at 15h00.

With four rounds of the league schedule left, both sides are currently chasing a spot in the top half of the table.

It is more of a foreseeable task for Celtic than it is for Wits who are currently lying in 13th place with 28 points.

If the Clever Boys continue with their terrible form they could consequentially find themselves in a relegation scrap. At this point they are only five points above the relegation/play-off zone. A fight to

The Clever Boys have not won a match in the league in 2012. They have suffered six defeats and five draws in their 11 second round league matches so far.

In their last two matches’s the Clever Boys have managed to draw against credible opposition like Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates.

Now Wits’ influential midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi, who has netted six goals from midfield to be his side’s joint top leading scorer, has tipped his team to be in the top half of the table by the conclusion of the season.

“We are not thinking about relegation at this point, we will not get relegated, our main focus is the getting ourselves into the top eight,” Vilakazi said.

Injuries to key players might be the reason for Wits’ poor second round form.

Leading striker Ryan Champan has not kicked a ball since the turn of the year whilst striker Bradley Ritson has just returned from injury.

Sifiso Myeni has since departed to sign with league leaders Pirates in mid-season transfer window.

“The absence of those guys has really cost us a lot. They are quality players and brought brilliance to the team. We are definitely missing, them but I do not want to make them an excuse about why we are firing blanks,” cited the 22-year-old Wits player.

About his team’s chances on Saturday, Vilakazi was hopeful of a rare league result in 2012 for the Clever Boys.

“Celtic is in the same boat as us, but we have to win this match and end our drought. We are due a win at some time and this is the time,” The Soweto-born player said.

However, Celtic skipper Thabo Nthethe was adamant that victory in Johannesburg will be a major boost to their hopes of finishing inside the top eight bracket.

Punya Sele Sele has gathered some impressive results in their last few games to mount a serious challenge for a top half table finish.

“Our supporters will be disappointed if we do not finish in the top eight, so these remaining matches are very much important and will define our season.

“The boys have done well in recent matches and they are up for this challenge in the remaining games and the important thing for us now is we go into the final matches in a positive mindset.

“Wits are also in with a chance to make the top eight so if we beat them it will be like eliminating one of our challengers out of the race,” the Bafana Bafana defender concluded.

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