Michaelson Gumede
2 minute read
23 May 2016
5:07 pm

Bartlett back in playoff battle

Michaelson Gumede

Shaun Bartlett is yet again embroiled in a relegation battle, this time he will look to help the University of Pretoria retain their top flight status after avoiding automatic relegation on Saturday.

Shaun Bartlett, coach of the University of Pretoria. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Tuks had the highest number of losses in the league with a total of 17, together with now relegated Jomo Cosmos who have now gone down four times.

It was at the expense of Cosmos, who were thumped 3-1 by Maritzburg United on Saturday at the Princess Magogo Stadium – a result which subsequently saw Shaun Bartlett’s men avoid the drop and secure themselves a spot in the promotion play-offs, which are scheduled to kick off tomorrow.

Bartlett guided Golden Arrows back to the Premier Soccer League last season through the play-offs.

Tuks will face National First Division sides, Mbombela United and Highlands Parks, who finished third and runners-up respectively.

READ: Promotion playoffs dates, venues confirmed

The play-offs do not follow the Under-23 rule, where NFD teams are compelled to include five Under-23 players in their starting XI. Also, teams are permitted to field five foreign players, instead of the standard three.

The play-offs follow a league format where each team plays the other two teams in home and away fixtures.

Proceedings kick off on Wednesday where the two NFD sides will square off in Mbombela.

The play-offs run from May 225 until June 22, where the team that finishes first on the log will play in the PSL next season.

Tuks, who will be expected to play for their lives, welcome Mpumalanga side, Mbombela United on Sunday.

Tuks coach Bartlett, who is no stranger to relegation battles, says his team have been preparing for this moment for two weeks.

“For me, I started planning long time ago. There was never any doubt in my mind. Sometimes you have to have faith and believe that things happen for a reason.

“We know for a fact that we are going to go and overcome everything in order to stay in this PSL. Everything was in our hands,” he said.

After a 10-man Tuks defeated Golden Arrows 2-1 on Saturday, Bartlett said he was proud of his players, and believes they will do their best to stay in the PSL.

“My players showed the fighting spirit and I’m very proud of them. But now only is the beginning for us, obviously, we we’ve given ourselves a chance and now we have four games to look forward to,” he said.