While the PSL promotional play-offs will be contested by three clubs, a fourth side with a vested interest will be watching the proceedings closely.
Limpopo upstarts Sekhukhune FC will be keeping a close eye on the developments in the mini tournament involving Ajax Cape Town, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) and Baroka FC/Black Leopards/AmaZulu.
Sekhukhune, owned by Simon Malatji, bought the first-division status of TTM, which is owned by fellow Limpopo businessperson Lawrence Mulaudzi.
Should TTM win the play-offs and earn promotion to the premiership, it would mean Sekhukhune bought themselves a first-class ticket to the top flight.
Sekhukhune purchased the status of TTM after the latter bought Bidvest Wits’ rights to play in the premiership.
Mamelodi Sundowns legend and Sekhukhune director Alex Bapela said the outcome of the play-offs would determine their next step.
“Of course, we’ll be watching the play-offs to see what happens. The outcome of the games will give us direction as a club,” Bapela told City Press.
“At the moment, we don’t even have players because, remember, we come from an amateur league. We can only start to sign players when we know whether we’ll be in the Premier League or the first division. Once we know that, we’ll know whether we’re signing players on Premier League contracts or first division contracts.”
The transaction between the two Limpopo clubs is understood to be worth R10 million. Rumours suggest that there’ll be a top-up amount if TTM qualify for the top league.
However, Bapela was unwilling to reveal whether more cash would be paid.
“I wouldn’t want to be drawn into that discussion. I’m sure you understand that some things are confidential because they’re between two private parties,” he said.
TTM will take on Ajax in the opening play-off game at Rand Stadium this afternoon.
TTM coach Lucky Nelukau said: “We’ll remain professional and play to the best of our ability. It won’t be easy because every team wants to play in the premiership. The players are motivated and we’re looking forward to the games.”
Ajax will have to get over the disappointment of allowing the GladAfrica Championship title to slip from their hands in the 11th hour. The Urban Warriors lost the title to Swallows on goal difference after the two sides finished level on points.
Ajax coach Calvin Marlin said they had to move on: “We’ll go out there and give it everything we’ve got. Obviously, we would have loved to get automatic promotion. The play-offs will require us to have a strong mentality.”