Chippa out to break winless streak

Chippa United will look to break their winless run in the Absa Premiership when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 8:00pm CAT.

Chippa have gone eight league matches without a win after they were beaten 2-0 at Bidvest Wits last time out. The Eastern Cape side last claimed a three-pointer in early October.

The Chilli Boys have claimed just eight points from seven home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 2-2 draw with Polokwane City in mid-December.

Celtic come into the clash on the back of a four-game losing streak, with their last outing in 2018 ending in a 3-2 defeat away to Cape Town City. The Bloemfontein side threw away a two-goal advantage in the match.

Phunya Sele Sele have claimed 10 points from seven away matches this season. Their last win on the road was at Bidvest Wits in November.

When the teams met earlier this season in Bloemfontein, Celtic claimed a 2-0 home win thanks to goals from Tebogo Potsane and Tshegofatso Mabaso. Phunya Sele Sele are unbeaten in their last five league matches against the Chilli Boys.

Most Recent Starting XI:

Chippa United: Akpeyi, Macheke, Nsabiyumva, Nthethe (Shongwe 68'), Tlolane, Mokeke, Sangweni, Rakhale, Mayambela (Klate 83'), Manzini, Mbenyane (Lentjies 62').

Bloemfontein Celtic: Dambe, Sam, Letlabika, Lingwati, Rikhotso, Baloyi, Mashikinya (De Jongh 66'), Dlamini (Maema 36'), Phalane, Mabena, Masuku (Mangweni 81').

What They Said:

Chippa United head coach Joel Masutha

“For us, we just have to focus on the six teams that are at the bottom,” said Masutha.

“We don’t have to look up and check where Bidvest Wits or Orlando Pirates is right now. We will just have to play our six-team mini-league.

“To come out of this situation, it needs everyone pushing hard and I believe we will improve.”

Bloemfontein Celtic’s Rali Ramabodu

“We are pretty much aware that the Chippa United game will be a mountain to club looking at their precarious situation, but we hope that our team wins to revive the winning mentality,” said Ramabodu.

“The boys must go for the kill. The same zeal and determination shown during the first half of our game against Cape Town City must prevail and beyond.

“Again, the team is not playing bad, sometimes we have been unfortunate by missing a lot of chances only to concede on silly goal.”

Key Players

Chippa United

Mark Mayambela: If the Chilli Boys are to climb out of the position they currently find themselves in they will need their skipper to rise to the occasion. One of the most naturally talented players in the league, Mayambela hasn’t really lived up to his billing over the years. The wing-wizard, though, almost always seems to rise to the occasion when coming up against Siwelele – a team whose supporters adore him.

Thato Mokeke: Yet to taste victory as a Chilli Boys player, Mokeke has been deployed in the more unconventional centre-back position in his time at the Eastern Cape-based club. Mokeke’s passing expertise might be best utilised further up the park and could prove a valuable asset in midfield as Chippa aim to beat the drop.

Bloemfontein Celtic

Ndumiso Mabena: Siwelele’s main attacking threat, Mabena will be key to turning Celtic’s fortunes around as the Free State club aim to rekindle the sort of form that made them early season title contenders. With a goal and assist in his last game of 2018, Mabena will be aiming to start 2019 on a high by leading Phunya Sele Sele to victory.

Wandisile Letlabika: Having lost Alfred Ndengane and Lorenzo Gordinho to Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs respectively, Letlabika will play a key role in stabilising the Siwelele defensive line. If Celtic were to halt their slump, they will need to hold onto Letlabika.