Wits face Dikwena stern test

Bivdvest Wits will look to head to the Christmas break on a high as they host Platinum Stars in the Absa Premiership on Saturday night at Bidvest Stadium.

Kick-off is at 8:15pm.

The Absa Premiership champions are yet to move away from the relegation zone since the beginning of their title defence campaign.

Fresh from a 1-1 draw against Polokwane City and a 0-0 draw against Ajax Cape Town in the league, they will now want a win at all costs.

Apart from the two draws, they managed to beat Bloemfontein Celtic to lift the Telkom Knockout trophy in Durban.

However, sitting at the bottom of the table with 11 points from 13 matches is not good for the champions and coach Gavin Hunt will want his men to move away from the foot of the table.

Shifting focus to the visitors, Dikwena are also fighting their own battles at the bottom of the table and are yet to collect three wins this term.

They only managed to beat the Urban Warriors and Rise and Shine, but drew against Baroka FC as well as suffering a 1-0 loss against Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.

Heading to face his former bosses, coach Roger De Sa will now push his charges to fight harder and ensure they claim the maximum spoils.

Sitting one spot above the Braamfontein-based side with 12 points, Stars are also struggling this season and have spent the first quarter sitting at the bottom half.

Previous Starting XI

Bidvest Wits: Keet, Frosler, Hlatshwayo, Mkhwanazi, Hlanti, Claasen, Ntshangase, Monare, Klate, Mhango, Gamal

Platinum Stars: Visser, Mnguni, Zulu, Mwedihanga, Sithole, Msomi, Otladisa, Mere, Ntuli, Masalesa, Ng’ambi

Head-to-Head

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2012/13 Stars 2-1 Wits Mkhabela 2; Koapeng

2012/13 Wits 1-2 Stars Chapman; Ngele 2 (1 pen)

2013/14 Stars 0-0 Wits

2013/14 Wits 1-0 Stars Langwe

2014/15 Stars 0-0 Wits

2014/15 Wits 1-0 Stars Pule

2015/16 Stars 0-4 Wits Mahlambi 2, Vilakazi, Faty

2015/16 Wits 1-1 Stars Keene; Rodgers

2016/17 Stars 0-1 Wits Rodgers (pen)

2016/17 Wits 2-0 Stars Mahlambi, Klate (pen)

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2003/04)

Home Away Total

P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA

Wits 13 7 4 2 17 9 Wits 13 4 4 5 12 12 Wits 26 11 8 7 29 21

Stars 13 5 4 4 12 12 Stars 13 2 4 7 9 17 Stars 26 7 8 11 21 29

What the teams are saying

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt

“I think we have played better this season than last, and last season we were top of the league, so it is the fine lines,” said Hunt.

“So then you go back to saying what is football about? It is about results, it is not about how a team is playing. Look at the team at the top (Mamelodi Sundowns) they are not playing great, but they are winning.

“I think we played well in both games, but that is the nature of the game if you are not scoring. They (Polokwane City) scored with a big deflection and we came back and got a draw, you can’t fault the players,” added the Wits coach.

“We have just got to win, it is a hell of a game on Saturday (against Platinum Stars). Obviously we can jump up the table, but we have been saying that for a couple of weeks now.”

Platinum Stars captain Vuyo Mere

“It’s a six pointer. I think both teams need the points but I think we need to do that ourselves. We need these points,” said the Mere.

“We can’t expect other teams to be doing us favours. It’s going to be a very difficult game. We know what Wits is capable of.

“We have to go there confident of getting a win though. Wits have quality squad and quality coach. We are also getting to do well.

“We are looking forward to getting out of the relegation zone.

“We all know that we didn’t get the start we wanted as a team. We are happy that the boys have their confidence back. We are progressing at a very slow pace.”

Key players for Bidvest Wits

Thulani Hlatshwayo: The Bafana Bafana skipper is yet to find his best form this season, but will be key in this encounter at home. His ability to go forward and convert set pieces could help the club as they want to win this one.

Buhle Mkhwanazi: The centre-back has been a perfect partner to Hlatshwayo and their understanding will be vital when they meet Stars. Their will to win will be vital for the club as they are both experienced.

Key players for Platinum Stars

Siyabonga Zulu: Zulu has dished out fantastic performances for the club since the campaign started and has owned the left back spot. His ability will be tested on Saturday as Wits will attack using their wingers, but he will want to neutralise them.

Vuyo Mere: Mere has been one of the standout performers for the club in the midfield as well as helping at the back. He will now guide his soldiers and ensure they bag the full three points away from Rustenburg.

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