Relegation, tears, fears and drama as PSL winds up
By SAZI HADEBE
Arena Holdings PTY
Sport | Soccer
● The relegation of Marumo Gallants from the top flight was confirmed yesterday after they lost 2-0 to Swallows FC at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. Lindokuhle Mtshali scored a brace which secured a place in the top eight for the Dube Birds who survived through the play-offs last season. Maritzburg United, who were aggrieved to finish their programme in a 1-1 draw against champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday, will have a second bite at the cherry to fight for their Premiership status as they’ll play in the promotion/relegation play-offs against national first division sides Cape Town Spurs and Casric Stars next month. Marumo’s defeat meant Maritzburg finished on 15th spot with 30 points, the same as Chippa United managed to avoid relegation and play-offs on the last day when they played a 0-0 draw against Lamontville Golden Arrows in Gqeberha. It was Pirates who started brightly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban where they went to half-time leading with three goals by Thabiso Nonyane, Relebogile Ratomo and Monnapule Saleng. Kabelo Dlamini rounded off Usuthu’s rout when he scored Bucs’ fourth goal in the second half. The results elsewhere were favouring the Buccaneers as Sekhukhune United beat SuperSport United 1-0 with former Pirates defender Edwin Gyimah slotting in the winner. Gyimah’s goal helped the Nedbank Cup finalists to confirm their place in the top eight alongside Swallows and Stellenbosch FC, who beat TS Galaxy 2-1 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Cape Town. SuperSport were the only team with a chance to stop Pirates from finishing second as they went to the final round separated by two goals and were tied on 51 points. For finishing third, Gavin Hunt’s team will play in the Caf Confederation Cup alongside Sekhukhune as South African outfits next season. The Pirates victory means champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who completed their league programme on Tuesday against Maritzburg, finished 16 points clear of Pirates (54 points) on top of the standings. At FNB Stadium in Nasrec, Soweto where I was stationed, there was no drama or anything of significance to write home about as Kaizer Chiefs went through the motions to complete what’s been another terrible season — this time finishing with a 1-0 loss to a 10-man Cape Town City. Mduduzi Mdantsane scored the winning strike for Eric Tinkler’s men to secure the fourth spot ahead of Chiefs who had striker Ashley du Preez and his substitute Khama Billiat leaving the field in the first half after suffering injuries. Embattled coach Arthur Zwane had nothing to worry about as angry Chiefs fans who attacked him after a 1-0 loss to SuperSport last week in Rustenburg were kept far away from him this time around. The defeat was just a continuation of a bad run for Chiefs this season where Zwane was offered a sub-standard squad in his debut season as head coach of Amakhosi. Despite playing over 45 minutes against City’s 10 men, Chiefs still failed to find an equaliser, as players like Dillan Solomons, Christian Saile and Mduduzi Tshabalala just couldn’t find the goals. Another squad overhaul may be expected at Chiefs next season, while Zwane’s place on the bench is also not guaranteed.