Thu. May 28th, 2020

PSL relegation battle: The teams fighting to stay up

Eric Tinkler coach of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United 01 February 2019 at Bidvest Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePixFive teams have two weeks to save themselves from the relegation from the Premier Soccer League.

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Five teams are embroiled in the PSL relegation dogfight that looks likely to go right down to the final day of the season.

Maritzburg United remain bottom of the league as they have been all year but the Team of Choice have improved vastly under Eric Tinkler and have shown an appetite for the scrap.

The 16th placed team will be relegated at the end of the season while the team that ends 15th will need to survive a playoff with an opponent from the National First Division.

Chippa United are second from bottom having lost their last three league assignments. They certainly have the quality to stay up and might fancy their chances in the playoff if they cannot escape the bottom two in the closing weeks.

Three teams outside of the bottom two are still in danger of both outright relegation or a playoff against the NFD’s runner-up. Baroka FC, Free State Stars and Black Leopards all have their fate in their own hands.

Baroka won the Telkom Knockout earlier this season, an achievement that would surely lose some its shine if the club were to be dumped out of the PSL just a few months later. The Polokwane club have the most points of all the relegation candidates but have a tough pair of games ahead of them. They meet a Bidvest Wits team, who still have a shot at the PSL title, on Saturday, then end their season with what could become a mini-playoff with Maritzburg United.

Free State Stars coach Nikola Kavazovic admitted sending scouts to monitor NFD clubs who could be involved in the Promotion-relegation playoff, fearing that his team have gone into a terminal flat spin.

“We are in a very tough situation, I’m very honest, that’s why we already sent our scouts to watch NFD sides who might be our opponents in the playoffs,” he said.

“We are not strong enough mentally, I don’t think we can compete with Chiefs and Sundowns at this stage. Everything is possible but I’m a realistic man. At this stage we don’t have a chance. We can use these matches to prepare for the playoffs.” 

Stars aren’t helped by the fact that they face Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns in the final two rounds of action.

Black Leopards haven’t won in the league since March and also have a brace of tricky assignments to close out their season. They travel to Durban to face Amazulu this weekend and host a Cape Town City side who could still be chasing a spot in continental competition if not the title, next weekend.

Relevant remaining fixtures

Baroka FC 28 pts (12th)

v Bidvest Wits (a) – 4 May

v Maritzburg United (h) – 11 May

Free State Stars 26 pts (13th)

v Kaizer Chiefs (a) – 4 May

v Mamelodi Sundowns (h) – 4 May

Black Leopards 26 pts (14th)

v AmaZulu (a) – 4 May

v Cape Town City (h) – 11 May

Chippa United 24 pts (15th)

v Polokwane City (a) – 4 May

v Kaizer Chiefs (h) – 11 May

Maritzburg United 23 pts (16th)

v SuperSport United (h) – 4 May

v Baroka FC (a) – 11 May

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