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Top 8 race going down to the wire

Golden Arrows Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

South Africa's top-flight will wrap up on Saturday, with much still to be played for in the final round of matches.

Mamelodi Sundowns have already secured the title, but the race for spots in the lucrative MTN8 is well and truly on.

The MTN8 Cup is game-for-game the most lucrative cup competition on the African continent, where teams must play in just four matches for a first-prize of R8million (US$640 000).

With qualification handed to the top eight sides in the Premiership from the year before, there is not surprisingly a bun-fight to finish in the top half of the 16-team league, with handsome prize-money as well as the chance to play some highly competitive early-season fixtures.

Six clubs have already secured their place -- Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg United, Cape Town City and Free State Stars -- but two are left up for grabs.

Having previously assessed the relegation scenario ahead of the final round of matches, KweséESPN now look at which teams still can secure a top-eight place on the final day of the season.

SUPERSPORT UNITED
Current position: 14th
Points and goal-difference: 33 / -6
Final fixture: home vs Baroka FC
A real long shot for SuperSport, who will be more worried about avoiding the relegation play-off positions. They would need to win handsomely against Baroka FC and hope results in four other games go their way. File under 'highly unlikely'.

POLOKWANE CITY
Current position: 13th
Points and goal-difference: 33 / -3
Final fixture: home vs Chippa United
Polokwane are another side more worried about their relegation position. They would need to beat eighth-placed Chippa by two clear goals to overhaul them on goal-difference, and then still hope other results favour them. BAROKA FC Current position: 12th Points and goal-difference: 34 / -5 Final fixture: away vs SuperSport United Victory over struggling SuperSport could take Baroka as high as seventh in the table, but they must overcome an inferior goal-difference. They are also still very much in the relegation mix, so may be looking more for a point than all three they need to get into the top eight.

AMAZULU
Current position: 11th
Points and goal-difference: 35 / -6
Final fixture: home vs Cape Town City
Having secured their top-flight status last time out, AmaZulu can now play with freedom and have a real go at getting into the top eight. It is likely they will need a win at home to Cape Town City, and they must then hope that none of Bidvest Wits, Bloemfontein Celtic or Chippa get victories.

BIDVEST WITS
Current position: 10th
Points and goal-difference: 36 / -8
Final fixture: home vs Platinum Stars
Last year's league champions are hoping to finish an awful league season with some consolation and qualification for the MTN8. They are one of three clubs on 36 points, along with Celtic and Chippa, but will likely need to better both of their results as they have an inferior goal-difference. That or a victory, coupled with draws or defeats for one of their rivals and seventh-placed Golden Arrows, will be enough. They are away at already-relegated Platinum Stars, so should be hopeful of a positive result.

BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC
Current position: 9th
Points and goal-difference: 36 / -7
Final fixture: home vs Sundowns
A point could be enough for Celtic, but it is likely they will need all three at home to Sundowns. They may well believe that is very possible with The Brazilians focusing on their friendly with Barcelona four days later, meaning they could field a much-weakened team with first place in the league already secured.

CHIPPA UNITED
Current position: 8th
Points and goal-difference: 36 / +1
Final fixture: away vs Polokwane City
Chippa are currently in the final qualification place and victory will be enough to seal a top eight place given their superior goal-difference. A draw could also be enough, especially if Arrows lose and Chippa go ahead of them on goal-difference.

GOLDEN ARROWS
Current position: 7th
Points and goal-difference: 37 / +2
Final fixture: away vs Maritzburg United
Arrows have a tough away clash against a Maritzburg United side looking to finish third in the table, but Abafana Bes'thende know they could rise as high as fifth with a victory of their own, which would equal their best ever league finish, matching efforts in 2002/03 and 2008/09. A draw would likely be no comfort, with four teams behind them conceivably able to overhaul Clinton Larsen's side, though as things stand even in defeat they could still finish in the top-half.