Royal Eagles will fly no more in the GladAfrica Championship after Jomo Cosmos’ surprise win on Saturday ensured that the KwaZulu-Natal outfit are relegated to the ABC Motsepe League.
Eagles cannot finish higher than 15th position in the second tier league. Mathematically, they can only amass 28 points if they win all their games.
Cosmos’ 2-1 win over Free State Stars catapulted Ezenkosi up to 14th on the standings with 29 points.
Eagles only have pride to play for now in their three remaining games. They face NFD championship contenders Uthongathi at the Randburg Rugby Stadium in a 1.30pm kick-off this afternoon.
The Eagles are at the bottom of the table in the GladAfrica Championship, with a disappointing 19 points from 27 games.
Since the resumption of the PSL, they have suffered two losses and a draw.
Cosmos’ win pushed TS Sporting into the relegation zone, where the side form Mpumalanga have 28 points.
Eagles’ stunning demise comes a year after they finished as runners-up in the second division to Stellenbosch FC, who won automatic promotion to the top flight.
Coached by Sazi Ngubane at the time, the Eagles competed in the PSL promotion play-offs that were eventually won by Maritzburg United.
They have suffered after a messy ownership dispute that involved the wealthy Mpisane family. Eventually, Sbu Mpisane won ownership from his estranged wife Shauwn Mkhize.
She went on to join Real Kings, which split the team down the middle. Some staff members and players jumped ship to join Mkhize’s team, while others stayed.
Those boardroom squabbles affected the Eagles immensely as they struggled for form and coaches moved through a revolving door. In this season alone, they have been coached by Joel Masutha, Morena Ramorebodi, Phuti Mohafe and their current coach, Milton Dlamini. In fact, the Eagles have been so unstable that Dlamini left the club during the lockdown and only returned when the season resumed.
This week, Dlamini could not be reached for comment, despite numerous attempts. But in an earlier interview with City Press, he insisted that the team would fight until the end. “We will go into those games with the mentality of trying to do our best. Our circumstances [instabilities] don’t matter at the moment, we are not thinking about that,” he said.
Before the season restarted on August 8 in the bio-bubble, the Eagles were in danger of being disqualified for failing to comply with the Covid-19 safety protocols.
They were the last team to return to training.
A late intervention by the PSL ensured that the players were tested for Covid-19, in line with the regulations, so they could join the biologically safe environment.
Meanwhile, at the top, Ajax Cape Town earned some breathing room after their 1-0 win over Tuks.
With 54 points, Ajax have a six-point advantage over Swallows.
The Dube Birds could close the gap to three points in their fixture against Steenberg United at the Makhulong Stadium this afternoon. The game kicks off at 3.30pm.