Premium Journalist
2 minute read
1 May 2018
10:54 am

Ajax, SuperSport, Polokwane and Baroka shaping for an end-of-season relegation dogfight


The coaching staff at Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United, Polokwane City and Baroka FC have just under two weeks to find ways to save the respective seasons of their teams. 

Rodrick Kabwe of Ajax Cape Town takes a free kick as Teboho Mokoena of Supersport United makes the block during the Absa Premiership match between Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United at Athlone Stadium on February 28, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

With just one round of league fixtures to come, on Saturday, May 12, there will much soul-searching and blood, sweat and tears out on the training pitches in Cape Town, Pretoria and the Limpopo province as the four clubs look to ensure top-flight survival for another season.

It’s Ajax, a team which has on three occasions finished as league runners-up since their formation in 1999, while also developing countless PSL players from their youth ranks, who are in the most trouble.

After losing 3-1 to league champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, the Urban Warriors (31 points) remain in second last position on the table.

This equates with going into the promotion-relegation playoffs with the teams that finish second and third in the National First Division (Jomo Cosmos have already confirmed they will end second, the other spot will go to Black Leopards, Real Kings or Witbank Spurs).

The Cape side have not won a single game on the road this season, but at least end their campaign at home.

The problem for them is that they face Kaizer Chiefs, who’ll enjoy plenty of support in the Mother City and are probably desperate to at least salvage a top three finish at the end of what has been a difficult season for them.

And a draw will be no good for Muhsin Ertugral’s men, as they’re two points behind SuperSport and Polokwane (both on 33 points), and three behind Baroka (34 points).

Baroka, who currently have Doctor Khumalo in charge, are away at SuperSport for their last match, with the Limpopo club knowing a draw will at the very least be enough to keep them above Matsatsanta and bottom-of-the table Platinum Stars.

That SuperSport – MTN8 winners this season, three-time league champions, Nedbank Cup winners in 2016 and 2017, and Caf Confederation Cup finalists little more than six months back, are in the position they are in, shows perhaps just how tough the PSL has become.

Polokwane, meanwhile, are at home at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, where they take on a Chippa United side trying to hang onto position eight on the table which could qualify them for next season’s MTN8 competition.

Even if a Kaitano Tembo-coached SuperSport beat Baroka and Ajax win against Chiefs, a draw for Bernard Molekwa’s Polokwane side would see them finishing above Baroka FC on goal difference – of the four clubs on trouble, it is Rise and Shine who enjoy the best goal difference.

With so many permutations, this is the current league table.
Pos.  Team        Goal dif.   Pts
12   Baroka FC    -5         34
13   Polokwane    -3         33
14   SuperSport   -6         33
15   Ajax CT        -5          31

Remaining fixtures for the four teams in the PSL relegation dogfight (Saturday, May 12):
Polokwane City v Chippa United – Old Peter Mokaba Stadium
SuperSport United v Baroka FC – Lucas Moripe Stadium
Ajax Cape Town v Kaizer Chiefs – Cape Town Stadium.