WHILE Polokwane City would be hoping to move to third spot on the Absa Premiership table, AmaZulu have aspirations of jumping into the top eight circle.
The two warring sides will renew their rivalry at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Limpopo on Saturday (3.30pm) where a winner is expected.
The two sides ended the past season (2017-18) with two 0-0 draws, and hopefully goals could be expected this time around considering their form, respectively.
Rise and Shine have surprised many and sundry when they finished the first round of the 2018-19 PSL season in fourth position with 23 points from 15 matches – six wins, five draws and four defeats.
Usuthu refused to let their drama with the league, Safa and Fifa to dumpen their spirits, as they continued to fight back despite being docked six points for some administration bungles.
Today they find themselves taking a four-hour flight from King Shaka International to Polokwane International Airport, for tomorrow’s clash, being 10th on the log with 16 points from 15 matches – six wins, five defeats and four draws.
But the last time Cavin Johnson and his charges visited Limpopo they came back with a 3-1 loss to Black Leopards in Venda, just before the Christmas break.
And now odds are stacked against AmaZulu this time around, with the return to action of Rise and Shine captain, Jabu Maluleke, from suspension which is a huge boost ahead of this match.
Maluleke is equally excited that his influence could help sway the match in their favour.
“I am happy to be back and looking forward to the game against AmaZulu,” said the 36-year-old from Soweto.
“I am also proud of the team the way they played when I was suspended. They did extremely well as we never lost in those three games. Our strong point is that we play as a united front and trust each other, and we work for each other.”
He however confirmed armchair critics’ views that the AmaZulu game will not be a walk in the park since Johnson has instilled some confidence in his players.
“We are aware that they lost to Leopards in their last game of the year,” he added.
“We also have an advantage of playing at home. Everyone is ready for this game despite coming from the Christmas break. We want to continue with our form. But we will take it one game at the time.”
Meanwhile, City coach Jozef Vukusic does not plan on ballooning his squad any further by signing more players in the January transfer window period.
“I am pleased with the squad that I have, and I am sure everyone can see that we have a strong team. We don’t want to tamper with the consistency that we have been enjoying in the first round,” Vukusic said.
Chippa United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Sisa Dukashe Stadium, 8pm)
Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns (FNB Stadium, 3pm); Polokwane City v AmaZulu (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3.30pm); Free State Stars v Bidvest Wits (Goble Park, 6pm); Highlands Park v Orlando Pirates (Makhulong Stadium, 8.15pm); SuperSport United v Cape Town City FC (Lucas Moripe Stadium, 8.15pm)
Golden Arrows v Maritzburg United (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, 3.30pm); Baroka FC v Black Leopards (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3.30pm)
1 Bidvest Wits 159331330
2 Orlando Pirates 15762727
3 SuperSport United 15654323
4 Polokwane City 15654223
5 Mamelodi Sundowns 12570722
6 Kaizer Chiefs 15564421
7 Bloemfontein Celtic 15636-121
8 Highlands Park 15483220
9 Cape Town City FC 14554120
10 AmaZulu FC 15645-216
11 Golden Arrows 15375-316
12 Baroka FC 15357-514
13 Black Leopards 14347-713
14 Free State Stars 15348-913
15 Chippa United 15267-712
16 Maritzburg United 14185-511