Thanda Royal Zulu’s fighting spirit surges through at first round of promotion play-offs

2012-06-25 00:00

THANDA Royal Zulu coach Neil Tovey’s never-say-die attitude rubbed off on his players, as their fighting spirit against Santos on Saturday in Cape Town revived their promotion chances.

“I always believed we are on track to gain promotion to the PSL even though many had written us off,” exclaimed Tovey, after his National First Division (NFD) team secured their first win of the promotion play-offs.

Thanda kicked off the campaign on a low note, losing at home to the same Santos (0-1) before milking a point off Chippa United (1-1) in Cape Town.

On Saturday night, it looked all dead and buried for Thanda when they found themselves trailing inside 25 minutes.

Santos veteran defender Nasief Morris capitalised on the visitors’ shaky defence, heading in from a corner kick.

The home side could have added more goals were it not for Eleazor Rodgerds and Erwin Isaacs wasting easy chances.

The Richards Bay-based team returned in the second stanza, rejuvenated and forcing a pressurised Santos to play in their own half by using their wings.

Thanda’s relentless attack paid off when skipper Asanda Mvalo headed in an equaliser, leaving Santos goalie Pa Demba Touray, stranded.

Three minutes later, striker Mpho Sitayitayi increased the lead from a similar position.

The Saturday result has thrown the play-offs promotion race wide open, withThanda, Santos and Chippa all needing to win their last matches while hoping that other results go their way.

The team that finishes on top of the three-team log, will earn a spot in the PSL next season.

In their last match, Thanda host Chippa United in Richards Bay on Wednesday, before Santos and Chippa wrap up the mini-league programme with the Cape Town derby on Saturday.

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