As strange as it seems, there remains the possibility that Kaizer Chiefs could win the Caf Champions League this season and be relegated to the GladAfrica Championship.
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Both scenarios are highly unlikely, with Amakhosi by far the underdogs among the four Champions League semifinalists, and with enough sides between them and a relegation play-off spot to make finishing 15th in the DStv Premiership highly unlikely. Even then, Amakhosi would have the lifeline of the play-offs to cling to.
And yet, it remains a severe embarrassment for Chiefs that, with two games left to play in the season, they are even in a position where relegation is a possibility. On 30 points, Gavin Hunt’s side are five clear of 15th placed Chippa United, with two games left to play in the season. For Chiefs to finish 15th, Chippa will have to win both of their remaining matches, and Amakhosi’s goal difference is so superior to the Chili Boys that they would certainly have to lose both of theirs.
Even if that does happen, Stellenbosch (three points behind Chiefs), TTM or Maritzburg (both one point behind Chiefs) could still finish 15th, leaving Chiefs with the luckiest of escapes.
Such are the variables in the table, meanwhile, that Amakhosi could also still qualify for next season’s MTN8. They will probably need to win both of their final two games, and hope other results go their way, with TS Galaxy, Baroka FC, and Bloemfontein Celtic (currently in 8th) all ahead of them in the table.
Nothing will be decided in terms of relegation or the MTN8 until Wednesday at the earliest, when the penultimate fixtures all take place simultaneously. There are likely to be some sweaty palms in the corridors of Naturena until then, with Chiefs, even if they avoid the drop, well-set for a worst ever season in the Premier Soccer League era. To put it in plain terms, Amakhosi are a cavernous 30 points behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns, just a season after running Masandawana so close for league honours.