South African ABSA Premiership: The race for the ABSA trophy is heating up

We once again call up the bravest to pick the 2018/19 ABSA Premiership champion. Unlike the premier league where it’s almost certain that the winner will be between Manchester or Liverpool, the Italian Serie A or the French Ligue 1 where Juventus and Paris St Germain have run away with it – the South African top flight has a different proposition.

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi holds aloft the premiership trophy after winning the Absa Premiership Final match between Orlando Pirates and the Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Soweto, South Africa.  (May 20, 2011 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe)

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi holds aloft the premiership trophy after winning the Absa Premiership Final match between Orlando Pirates and the Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Soweto, South Africa.

(May 20, 2011 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe)

Of course they are title favorites, the likes of whom have familiar names such as the Pirates from Orlando, the Brazilians of Tshwane or the Clever Boys also known as the Students professionally recognised as Bidvest Wits. Orlando Pirates are tied at the top with Wits on 27 points though having played one more game. The crest of the wave they began riding on since the appointment of Coach Micho is seemingly not going away, back among the title conversations unlike their neighbors, Kaizer Chiefs who have had to appoint yet another gaffer.

Sundowns have had to endure a bitter sweet season, boasting of an unbeaten run sandwiched with countable draws that have left them lying 4th, five points off Bidvest Wits but with two fewer games played. As is the culture of the ABSA Premiership, underdogs really do thrive. A few days after Baroka edged high flying Pirates in the Telkom knockout final to win their first major honors in the club’s history, Polokwane City have crept unawares into the top three, just five points off log leaders.

Broadly, the first seven teams on the standings are separated by just six points. Khompela’s Bloemfontein Celtic is also in the mix, SuperSport United affectionately known as Matsatsantsha and Kaizer Chiefs wrapping up the seven. Even league goals have become increasingly harder to mine for the forwards with the top scoring forward at five goals in 15 matches.

The heat is evidently on and more than ever, competitiveness is reaching an all-time high in South Africa. That is why at FirstTouch, we feel that the South African league redefines the word competition.