Down to the wire

2008-05-16 00:00

Supersport United stand on the brink of a deserved first Premier Soccer League title, but their progression to the R6 million first prize is by no means certain.

The M-Net-owned Pretoria team must overcome unpredictable Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free Staters’ Seisa Ramabodu stronghold this afternoon to be sure of the title.

Their rivals for the title, Ajax Cape Town, face Lamontville Golden Arrows in Umlazi. Ajax dropped two crucial points in their 1-1 draw against Santos at Athlone Stadium on Thursday night, but the race for the PSL crown is likely to go right down to the wire.

Ajax and SuperSport have modern, transparent administrative structures and the best youth programmes in the country. Either deserves to win the league title, having played outstandingly well. But then football is a cruel game, and there is only one winner.

It is not just the top teams whose hopes are riding on tomorrow’s final round of matches around the country. Six mid-table clubs are in contention to finish in the top eight and qualify for nest season’s SAA Supa8. At the bottom Thanda Royal Zulu and Black Leopards are separated by two points in the battle to avoid relegation.

SuperSport’s dangerman against Bloemfontein Celtic will be striker Katlego Mashego who has finished with a flourish after struggling for most of the season. His four goals as a substitute in SuperSport’s 4-2 defeat of Moroka Swallows were followed by the second goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Mozambican winger Elias Pelembe is a candidate for player of the year in his first season in the PSL, while Bongani Khumalo has been rock-solid in defence and looks a potential 2010 candidate.

For veteran goalkeeper Andre Arendse, a league title would be a significant achievement at the tail-end of a career that has seen him win the African Nations Cup and represent Bafana Bafana at two World Cups. The same could be said for his Ajax opposite number and long-time rival for the national team jersey, Hans Vonk.

Like Arendse, Vonk is a key performer and a valuable source of experience for his younger team-mates. After helping to steer Ajax to the Absa Cup trophy and fourth place in the league last season under Mushin Ertugral, Vonk has again provided the rock-solid foundation current coach Craig Rosslee has built on.

SuperSport were runners-up in the league twice under previous incumbent Pitso Mosimane, and Ajax have finished in second place once, under Gordon Igesund in 2003/04.

A draw will be enough for SuperSport to take the title. A defeat, and victory for Ajax against Arrows, would see the Capetonians take the trophy on goal difference.

Top scorers: 14 — James Chamanga (Moroka Swallows); 12 — Diyo Sibisi (Free State Stars); 11 — Erwin Isaacs (Santos), Katlego Mashego (Supersport United), Sandile Ndlovu (Moroka Swallows); 10 — Excellent Walaza (Orlando Pirates), Serge Djiehoua (Thanda Royal Zulu); 9 Eleazar Rodgers (Santos), Dumisani Ngwenya (AmaZulu), Nathan Paulse (Ajax Cape Town); 8 — Siyabonga Mkhwanazi (AmaZulu); 7 Thembinkosi Fanteni (Ajax Cape Town).

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.