Dikwena, Ea Lla Koto in battle of the Stars
Platinum Stars and Free State Stars will clash on Saturday afternoon at the Royal Bafokeng Satdium in Rustenburg in an Absa Premiership match, kick-off at 3pm CAT (SA, GMT+2). Live on SS4, SSHD4 and supersport.com
The North West side will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s cup competition exit whilst the Free State side will be looking to continue their fine start to the season.
Dikwena suffered a disappointing loss in the Telkom Knockout when they conceded a stoppage time goal to lose 2-1 to AmaZulu at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium last weekend and this fixture at home to Ea Lla Koto offers a chance at redemption for Cavan Johnson’s men.
Ea Lla Koto, on the other hand, produced a clinical 3-1 victory over a beleaguered Golden Arrows side last weekend, a result that was a final nail in coach Muhsin Ertugal‘s coffin at the Durban based side.
Dikwena are placed ninth on the Absa Premiership log with 10 points from seven matches.
Platinum Stars have won their last two league games in succession, the most recent of which was a 1-0 victory away to glamour club Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Rustenburg side has recorded two wins and a loss from their three home matches so far this season.
Dikwena have never beaten the Ea Lla Koto at home in their six previous meetings with the Free State in the North West.
The teams have played to three draws and Dikwena have suffered three defeats as well. A lone Dove Wome goal earned Steve Komphela’s side a 1-0 win in this fixture last season.
“Free State Stars are a good team, they finished in the top six last year and they were not there for nothing. They are a side who do collect points away from home,” said coach Johnson.
“But we will go out there and show that we are going to always play our best football at home and that we will always go for the win in front of our own fans.
“We want the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace to be a place that is always a worry for visiting teams.”
Free State have gone five matches without a win and lost 1-0 at home to Moroka Swallows in their last league outing.
Nonetheless, the Ea Lla Koto have done reasonably well on their travels so far this season, recording one win and two draws from three matches.
Free State are placed seventh on the Absa Premiership log with 10 points from seven matches.
“We have put the 3-1 victory against Arrows behind us, it’s now a new chapter. We need to go to Rustenburg and fight for all three points, and yes it won't be easy but with thorough preparation we should seal it,” explain Steve Komphela.
“Yes we acknowledge their strength, we know the likes of Benson Mohlongo and Henrico Botes can punish you on the day if you let them loose, but as much us we acknowledge their strength we have also identified their weaknesses.”
Komphela also pointed out that there are a number of factors that are going to make the match interesting on the day.
“I have coached Dikwena and there are three players in my team (Rueben Thebakang, Coldrin Coetzee and Mbuyiselo Sambu) who have previously played for them. We know the culture of the team and that alone should be a plus for us,” concluded Komphela.