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ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER WAIT IN TITLE RUN-IN

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EZULWINI - Are we going to have new leaders this afternoon in the MTN Premier League as the title run-in now favours second-placed Young Buffaloes over long time leaders Green Mamba?

Only two matches remain per side before the season is over. Leaders Green Mamba have very tricky opponents who can play good football in the youthful Denver Sundowns today and then failed defending champions, but still tough Royal Leopard for last match. Green Mamba are a point ahead of second-placed Young Buffaloes, who face rookies Madlenya today in an easy game on paper then finish the season with relegation side, Tambankulu Callies. Question, can it all end today or Leopard and Callies will be the kingmakers? It’s a wait-and-see. Elsewhere, dark horse for the title Mbabane Swallows take on Leopard in a must-win as the red and white side of Mbabane also hopes for upsets in games involving Green Mamba and Buffaloes. Swallows will be preceded by the hub derby between Moneni Pirates and Manzini Wanderers at Mavuso Sports Centre. Pick your match; hit the stadium to be a witness.

Green Mamba must ‘Basop’ Gunners flaws

Football can kill you, this you got to believe if you know and see the turn of events in the English Premier League. Arsenal have been at the summit for the better part of the season with a good points’ gap, once thought to be unassailable but today they are second to defending champions Manchester City who also have played less games than them. As our own MTN Premier League title race goes on today between two security forces side, leaders Green Mamba and second-placed Young Buffaloes, the former have seen a seven-point advantage reduced to one after 24 games. They lost to Buffaloes 0-1 midweek and now face Sundowns, the Basop IKappa ensemble with a 2-1 first round defeat at the back of their heads. It’s about pride for Sundowns but glory for Coach Ernest Mavuso, who is vying for his first MTN Premier League title and third for Green Mamba.

Can his troops turn on the heat against stubborn Sundowns and get the maximum points? What happens if they don’t win or even lose the match? Green Mamba will be just like the English Premier League (EPL) side, Arsenal, especially if Buffaloes go on to win against Madlenya and relegate the leaders to second as they take the summit. It is essential that the Correctional Services team collects the maximum points against Sundowns or risk losing the title, CAF Champions League ticket and E1 million prize to their army rivals who are out for their second MTN Premier League title. This one is a must-win for Green Mamba, given that they face police side Royal Leopard in the last match, another security forces derby clash. A share of the spoils here and a win for Buffaloes still sees Green Mamba drop to second but with a chance of going to the closing matches as they would be two points behind. Best thing is a win or risk losing it right at the death. Green Mamba will play this one without their box to box midfielder and definitely one of the best for this season’s Player of the Year Award, Mxolisi Mkhonto, through suspension while Buffaloes will be without their consistent scorer Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze for the same reason too.

Buffaloes favourite at unpredictable rookies

Unpredictable are rookies Madlenya, especially after they held the star-studded army team to a 1-all draw in the reverse fixture last December. That said, this is a new game altogether and the circumstances are not the same. This is the second round and Buffaloes can smell the title, it’s within their grasp as they trail leaders Green Mamba by a point with two games to spare. A lot has been said already but Buffaloes know they cannot afford to slip up. A defeat will not be ideal if Green Mamba win their clash against Denver Sundowns in Mhlume as that will mean a four-point gap which seals the championship and TotalEnergies CAF Champions League spot. Buffaloes would have to take the second place if they do not lose it to Mbabane Swallows who are mathematically still very much in contention for the title too, only it’s not in their hands. That is the pressure Buffaloes have right now as for them it is not just Green Mamba but Swallows too. The second spot is also just as useful as it carries with it the ticket to the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup. Royal Leopard and Mbabane Highlanders won the two tickets last season but this time Leopard are set to finish on fifth while Highlanders are on fourth and could possibly finish on the third. A draw for Buffaloes may also prove not ideal if Green Mamba win today, going to the closing matches next week.

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