Thanda may have blown their chances

2012-05-24 00:00

THROWN a lifeline in the form of promotional play-offs after failing to win automatic promotion from the National First Division (NFD), Thanda Royal Zulu may have blown their chance of regaining their Premiership status.

Their 1-0 defeat by Santos at Richards Bay Sports Stadium — their home ground — yesterday further illustrated their plight.

Thanda entered the round-robin play-offs by virtue of finishing third in the NFD standings and will battle with Chippa United, who finished second, and Santos, who finished 15th in the Premiership.

The games will be played in a home-and-away format, with three points allocated for a win and a point for a draw.

Six fixtures are required to complete the play-offs, with one match and one bye occurring on each date. The winner of the play-offs will therefore participate in the money-spinning Premiership.

Probably aware of threats posed by the visitors from the flanks and counter-attacks, Thanda employed a defensive approach.

They were made to pay when the PSL boys from Cape Town took the lead as beanpole striker Eleazor Rogers tapped in a cross by Sanlam King from the left wing in the 11th minute.

Santos nearly broke the hearts of the capacity home crowd when defender Nasief Morris’s header shaved the crossbar, off a King corner in the 34th minute.

Neil Tovey’s boys lacked combination in their play, resulting in Santos goalie Pa Touray Dembo looking like a man on a holiday.

The home side were forced to make changes owing to injuries to right wing Khulekani Mdluli and Sipho Made inside 20 minutes.

However, Thanda upped their game in the second stanza, with central midfielder Sthembiso Dlamini and left wing Nkosinathi Mthiyane carving out some openings.

Their efforts were let down by forward men Peter Nwadike and Mpho Sitayitayi, who constantly came out of the box instead of roaming.

Seemingly happy with the odd goal, Santos reverted to defensive mode.

Thanda’s game against Chippa United in the Mother City on Sunday has been postponed after the PSL received a complaint from NFD side Blackburn Rovers regarding Chippa’s finish in the second tier.

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