Bloemfontein Celtic will look to snap their winless run in the 2020-21 DStv Premiership season when they host TS Galaxy at Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday.
Celtic have gone five league matches without a win after they were held 1-1 at Baroka FC on 20 March, a match which featured a goal from Victor Letsoalo and a red card for defender Justice Chabalala.
Phunya Sele Sele have claimed 17 points from 10 home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United in early March.
“Look, we are expecting a very difficult game against TS Galaxy,” said Bloemfontein Celtic head coach John Maduka. “They have been doing well since coach Owen [da Gama] took over so we know it won’t be an easy game.”
“It has been very difficult for us to win games away from home this season so whenever we play at home we need to make sure that we do well and get the points that we need.”
“The international break gave us an opportunity to fix our mistakes, to make sure we don’t make the same errors going forward. We are hoping come Sunday that we will get the points that we need.”
Galaxy saw their unbeaten run ended at eight league matches when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Maritzburg United on 20 March, a sixth defeat of their campaign.
The Rockets have claimed 12 points from 10 away matches this season, with their last result on the road a 0-0 draw at SuperSport United in early March.
“We needed a break because we’ve been playing back-to-back games. I think we’ve done exceptionally well going into the break,” said Galaxy forward Mxolisi Macuphu.
“It will be difficult coming back from the loss but it is all about mentality. Against Maritzburg United, we never put ourselves in a position of achieving a result. We want to come back strong.”
“We have four games in April and I believe it is possible to go for nine points. The mentality of the boys has been phenomenal moving from 16th position on the log to position number eight. That is an achievement. We have to appreciate those small achievements. That is what makes the team succeed.”
In head-to-head stats, Celtic and Galaxy have met in just one previous top-flight league match. That encounter took place earlier this season, with the Rockets winning 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium in February thanks to a goal from Lindokuhle Mbatha.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC
Victor Letsoalo: With six goals, Letsoalo has scored four more than any other Siwelele player this season. Five of those goals came since the turn of the year and the forward will be eager to build on his haul and help fire Celtic away from the relegation zone.
Thato Lingwati: One of two players that have penned long-term extensions at the club in the past week, Lingwati is expected to start in place of the suspended Justice Chabalala on Sunday. He will be eager to prove why Phunya Sele Sele have placed so much trust in him.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: TS GALAXY
Lindokuhle Mbatha: The veteran winger has been key to Galaxy’s upturn in results under Da Gama and has notched up eighth goal contributions in his last nine matches. Following a setback before the international break, Mbatha will be eager to lead his team back to victory.
Marlon Heugh: Galaxy’s preferred choice between the sticks since mid January, Heugh has kept four clean sheets in 10 matches this season and only conceded eight goals. The shot-stopper will be eager to make it five shutouts on Sunday as the Rockets eye a return to winning ways.