Eagles eye NFD glory

2017-05-10 06:02
The triumphant players of the Super Eagles celebrate after receiving the floating trophy as the champions of the Free State stream in the ABC Motsepe League. The team is one of the nine going through to the national play-offs for promotion to the National First Division (NFD). Photo: Supplied

The triumphant players of the Super Eagles celebrate after receiving the floating trophy as the champions of the Free State stream in the ABC Motsepe League. The team is one of the nine going through to the national play-offs for promotion to the National First Division (NFD). Photo: Supplied

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The triumphant Super Eagles are focusing on the promotional play-offs which will determine the two teams out of nine to be promoted to the ­National First Division (NFD).

The Bethlehem-based outfit qualified for the play-offs by virtue of winning the Free State stream of the ABC Motsepe League for 2016-’17.

The South African Football Association (Safa) has decided on East London and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape as the joint hosts for the play-offs.

The event, taking place from 4 to 11 June, feature the nine winners of the respective provinces. The two clubs that finish top in the two streams at the play-offs is automatically promoted to the NFD, played under the auspices of the National Soccer League (NSL).

This event is the last hurdle the Eagles have to overcome in their journey to glory.

Dr. Strike Mabasa, the Eagles’ managing director, said his charges were focused on the promotional play-offs and he hoped they would do well, as this would be a positive development for Bethlehem.

The Bethlehem lads began their preparations on Monday (08/05), after a week of rest. This includes undergoing scientific conditioning at the Free State Sport Science Institute in Bloemfontein and attending coaching sessions to improve tactical aspects.

“The objective is to strike a balance in the team, working on the weaknesses and strengths, which include mental aspects. We want all the support needed to achieve, because our success will benefit the people of Bethlehem,” said Mabasa.

The Eagles emerged as the Free State stream league champions after a gruelling battle against tough contenders Harmony, Bloemfontein Young Tigers, Bubchu United and Mangaung Unitestet .

If Eagles are promoted to the NFD, they will become the first club from Bethlehem to achieve this feat.

They will also be the only Free State team in the NFD stream in the 2017-’18 term, after Maluti FET College and African Warriors were relegated in the 2014-’15 and 2015-’16 seasons, respectively. These two relegated clubs are from Qwaqwa.

The Eagles will want to do better than defunct Roses United and Manco Milan, which both failed to get promoted to the NFD in the 2014-’15 and 2015-’16 seasons.

Roses was owned by Samuel “Max” Tshabalala, current Bloemfontein Celtic chairman. He liquidated the club after the failed bid. The Milan owner sold the franchise to Tshiame All Stars.

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