Hungry Lions and Platinum City Rovers at last handed their respective home provinces a representative in the PSL.
Lions from Kimberley in the Northern Cape and Rovers from Rustenburg in the North West have gained promotion to the country’s second-tier league, the GladAfrica Championship.
The two clubs got their ticket to the PSL by virtue of qualifying for the ABC Motsepe League play-offs final.
They both had to march to the final courtesy of a penalty shoot-out and will contest the final of at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday, where the winner will walk away with the R1 million first prize purse.
Lions overcame Mbombela United 5-4 on penalties to win the first semifinal at Kabokweni Stadium on Thursday.
They drew 2-2 in regulation time and needed penalties to separate them, but Lions’ victory ensured that the Northern Cape finally has a club in the professional ranks. The last club to represent the province in the first division was Basotho Tigers in 2004. The team was sold and relocated to the North West.
Northern Cape, which is South Africa’s largest province by land mass, has been yearning for a professional club. Diamond City, as the province’s capital Kimberley is known, is home to several top players including former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates captain Jimmy Tau. Other prominent names from the city include the late Henyekane brothers Richard and Joseph, who both turned out for Golden Arrows, and Bradley “Surprise” Ralani, who is currently in the books of Cape Town City.
Meanwhile, Rovers defeated Glendene United 3-0 on penalties after a goalless draw in the regulation period. Their victory signalled the end of North West’s lack of representation in the PSL.
The province has been without a club in the premier league for three years, since Platinum Stars were sold and relocated to Cape Town.
The world-class Royal Bafokeng Stadium has been without a tenant since the demise of Dikwena, but it looks like the facility will soon be back in use.
Lions and Rovers’ entry into the PSL structure means that of all South Africa’s nine provinces are represented in the domestic professional club football set-up across the premier and first divisions.
While the newest clubs in the first division have been confirmed, it is still unclear who the 2019/20 GladAfrica Championship champions are.
According a revised first division final log after the last day of the campaign on May 23, Sekhukhune United finished the season on top of the table with 53 points, but the Limpopo club is yet to receive its trophy or prize money.
This because runners-up Royal AM are arguing through the courts that they are the rightful champions and, as a result, the Durban club pulled a no-show in the recently concluded promotion/relegation play-offs that featured Chippa United and Richards Bay.
Sekhukhune were awarded three points via an arbitration in May, which was rubber-stamped by the high court.
Royal have approached the Supreme Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn the ruling.
It remains to be seen when the fixture schedule for the new season will be released with this dark cloud hanging over the PSL.