Vasco badly want their PSL berth back

2010-02-27 00:00

BLACK Leopards and Vasco Da Gama go into this afternoon’s first leg of the National First Division play-off final determined to score the first blow.

The two teams, who topped the standings of their Inland and Coastal streams respectively, meet in the first leg of a home-and-away tie at Tshifulani Stadium in Limpopo at 3 pm.

The winner will get automatic promotion to the Premier Soccer League, while the loser will slug it out for another chance to gain promotion to the PSL, but through the promotion/relegation play-offs against the second-last PSL team and two stream runners-up.

Despite playing at home, Leopards coach Vladislav Heric expressed concern, saying Vasco might have the advantage due to heavy rainfall up north this whole week.

“I think the rain will work in Vasco’s favour given that they are used to rainy conditions. If they came here when it is extremely hot, they would struggle to adjust and that’s where we will punish them,” said Heric.

The Serbian coach, who had a spell with Maritzburg United in 2007 and promoted Bay United from the First Division in 2008, said he is aware that his players might struggle with Mother City conditions in the return match next weekend.

“The weather has to be considered as it is very different in these two places and will affect the players. I hope we can adapt quickly there as my boys are not used to playing in the Cape.

“Both sides have a good chance of going through and I think who wants it more will take it, and my boys want to return to the Premiership badly.”

Vasco striker Bradley August hopes that playing the first round away from home will be an advantage to his side.

“We are going there [to Limpopo] to make sure that we don’t concede. If we sneak a goal or two then we’ll be in great position for the return match. We believe we can pull it off out there given our good away record this season,” said the former Bafana Bafana international.

Both Vasco and Leopards boast an array of ex-PSL players, which should make their clash intriguing. Leopards, who were relegated from PSL two seasons ago, have Christopher Netshidzivhe, Malawian internationals Robert Ngambi, Peter Mponda and Fischer Kondowe, and ex-Bloemfontein Celtic goalkeeper Postnet Omony of Uganda to name but a few.

August, who previously turned out for Danish side Brondby, Ajax Cape Town and Maritzburg United, will have the likes of Ashley Opperman and Jonathan Armogan by his side as they strive for Vasco to realise their dream of playing in the elite league next season.

Meanwhile, Durban side Nathi Lions, who finished second in the Coastal Stream will swing into play-off action in two weeks’ time.

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