Misfiring Thanda to remain in NFD after loss

2012-06-28 00:00

THE dream is over for Thanda Royal Zulu and they will campaign in the National First Division once again next season.

For the second season in a row the Richards Bay team have failed to gain promotion after falling in the final-hurdle playoffs.

Yesterday’s 3-0 defeat by Chippa United at the Richards Bay Sports Stadium perfectly summed up what has been their story all season long at home — dominate the opposition completely but bizarrely fail to register a win.

Thanda had come into yesterday’s match with their tails up following an impressive 2-1 win over Santos in Cape Town. A similar performance was expected from Neil Tovey’s men yesterday.

However, they disappointed their scores of fans who went back home hurling insults at the technical team and players. Credit to Chippa coach Roger Sikhakhane, whose tactical acumen reduced his experienced counterparts to mere boys.

The Cape Town-based side, in their maiden season in the NFD, stuck to basics, while Thanda huffed and puffed the entire 90 minutes.

The visitors signalled their intentions as early as the second minute, with striker Petrus Ngebo’s header narrowly going wide off a free kick.

Ngebo, formerly with Bloemfontein Celtic, was in the picture again, dragging Thanda defender Asanda Mvalo wide. Once he was left sprawling on the ground, Ngebo laid on the ball for Andile Mbeyane to finish home in the sixth minute.

Thanda should have levelled matters minutes later, but striker Peter Nadikwe fluffed the chance by blasting over the bar in the box. The big Nigeria hitman was at it again, this time squandering a golden chance, much to the dismay of home fans.

In the second half, Chippa sub Mfundo Shumana killed any hopes Thanda may have had in the 72nd minute. Following a counter-attack, his neat interplay with Ngebo resulted in the second goal.

Buyani Sali put the final nail in the coffin, rounding off a counter-attack move with five minutes to go.

Chippa, who now have five points, next face Santos (four points) in the last match of the three-team play off in Cape Town on Saturday. A win for either side will see them campaign in the PSL next season.

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