Leopards’ chance to claw back to top-flight soccer

2010-03-09 11:35

STILL reeling from the black cloud that befell them on the weekend,

Black Leopards have a chance for redemption after being drawn against African

Warriors in the National First Division play-offs.


Leopards missed out on reclaiming their Absa Premiership status

when they were defeated 2-1 by Vasco Da Gama at Parow Park on Sunday following a

1-all stalemate in Thohoyandou.


But this morning’s draw means that Leopards have a second attempt

at clawing their way back to the elite ranks in a fixture that not even last

season’s results could be used as a yardstick.


Warriors finished behind Leopards in the inland stream.


In their three matches, each side won once while the other clash

ended in a draw.


Leopards will have the advantage of playing at home first on

Wednesday, March 17.


On the same day, Mpumalanga Black Aces will have to have aces up

their sleeves when they host Nathi Lions.


Aces finished 15th in the Absa Premiership, and were handed a life

vest in their quest to avoid drowning to the roughs and rigours of the NFD after

spending just one season in the R1 million-per-month ranks.


It will not be easy against Lions, who roared to a second spot

finish in the coastal stream.


Their coach Professor Ngubane warned as much following the draw

that was conducted at the PSL offices.


Ngubane, who is regarded as the miracle-working coach in South

African soccer circles, said his charges were prepared to fight for inclusion in

the Absa Premiership.


The two semifinal winners will meet in the final, also to be played

over two legs, on April 3 and April 7.


At the same draw, PSL CEO Kjetil Siem revealed that there is still

no sponsor in sight for the financially-burdened NFD, which resulted in the

league being run on a two-streams basis.


He added that they will discuss and review the two streams scenario

during the off-season.


NFD Play-offs

fixtures:


March 17 (semifinal, first leg)

Leopards vs Warriors

Aces vs Lions


March 24 (semifinal, second leg)

Warriors vs Leopards

Lions vs Aces
 

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