Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
3 minute read
13 Apr 2019
11:00 am

Stellenbosch skating on thin ice as lead under threat

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Steve Barker’s side are currently four points clear of Ajax Cape Town who have a technically easier game against Cape Umoya United at home on Sunday afternoon.

Steve Barker, Coach of Stellenbosch FC (Chris Ricco/BackpagePix)

Stellenbosch’s once enormous lead in the National First Division could be cut to just one point by the end of the weekend should they fail to get maximum points when they host Uthongathi FC at Idas Valley Stadium. The match is set for a 3pm start on Saturday.

Steve Barker’s side are currently four points clear of Ajax Cape Town who have a technically easier game against Cape Umoya United at home on Sunday afternoon. Should Stellies – who have been inconsistent of late – suffer a defeat and the Urban Warriors get full points, the lead will be cut to one point.

While Uthongathi have admittedly given up of their chances of finishing in the playoffs positions this season, their coach, Johhny Ferreira has urged his team to play for their lives as he prepares for an onslaught next season.

The Urban Warriors have been in good form lately but with Umoya also not entirely safe from relegation, they will have to dig deep for a result.

Other matches

Saturday

Real Kings v Jomo Cosmos, at King Zwelithini Stadium, 3pm

Jomo Cosmos are going into war at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban where they meet Real Kings who are as desperate for the full points as Ezenkosi with relegation lurking dangerously behind the two sides. Three points separate the two ahead of this afternoon’s match and a defeat will be undesirable for either.

The Magic Boys, as the KwaZulu-Natal side are known, have pulled out all the stops to ensure they get a twelfth man for this game with free transport and entrance offered to their supporters for the game. Kings were among the teams chasing for the playoffs spots at this point last season but have had a difficult run in their second campaign in the paid ranks.

Simo Dladla’s side are just a point above Ubuntu Cape Town who are 15th and five ahead of Witbank Spurs who are bottom of the standings. A defeat to Ezenkosi would put them at serious risk of relegation especially if Ubuntu and Siyavutha win.

Witbank Spurs v Mbombela United, at Puma Rugby Stadium, 3pm

Siyavutha will hope new coach Kagisho Dikgacoi has enough spark to reignite the team and guide them away from the bottom of the standings, something which well-travelled and experienced former Bafana Bafana coach, Shakes Mashaba failed to do. A failure to beat Mpumalanga neighbours could spell disaster for the division’s longest surviving side.

TS Sporting v University of Pretoria, at Kabhokweni Stadium, 3pm

With both sides out of danger and also with no real chance of getting into the playoffs, this is one of the few games where there will be less pressure. But a win would be a more desirable result for AmaTuks who are mathematically not out of relegation danger.

Ubuntu CT v Richards Bay, at Athlone Stadium, 3pm

Ubuntu will see this as their best chance to close the gap on teams above them and will look for the full points. Depending on the outcome of the Real Kings and Jomo Cosmos game, Ubuntu could move to 14th by the end of the weekend if they can get maximum points off the Natal Rich Boys.

Sunday

TS Galaxy v Royal Eagles, at Kameelsrivier Stadium, 3pm

Eagles will be looking to return to winning ways and keep abreast of title chasers while Galaxy will look to use this match as a preparation for their Nedbank Cup semifinal. Galaxy are out of the running for the playoffs but are still n with a big chance in Ke Yona where they meet Golden Arrows on April 20.

Maccabi v Tshakhuma, at Dobsonville Stadium, 3pm

Maccabi could find themselves in serious relegation trouble if they fail to get a win against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at home. Joel Masutha’s side are on 29 points, four above Ubuntu. Tshakhuma are still in with a chance in the title chase and will look to enhance their position at the top with a win.

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