Black Leop­ards on the cusp of PSL pro­mo­tion

African Times - - Sport - MASHUDU SADIKE

Black Leop­ards look set to join Lim­popo based sides Polok­wane City and Baroka FC in the up­com­ing Premier Soc­cer League (PSL) 2018/2019 cam­paign if they beat Jomo Cos­mos in their last game of the three-team mini league in Tho­hoyan­dou this week.

Shar­ing the spoils with Stars kept Li­doda Du­vha’s place at the sum­mit of the stand­ings with five points at the half­way mark af­ter play­ing to a 2-2 draw with Plat­inum Stars at Moru­leng Sta­dium at the week­end. The home win over Cos­mos will seal pro­mo­tion.

Li­doda Du­vha are ap­pear­ing in their fourth play offs in five sea­sons. The pre­vi­ous three edi­tions have all ended in dis­ap­point­ment for the Lim­popo side. But Coach Joel Ma­sutha is con­fi­dent that his charges have one foot in the elite league.

“We should not look at other teams and over asses them, we must look at us and con­cen­trate on the next game which is Cos­mos,” said Ma­sutha.

“We are con­fi­dent that we will make the PSL this time around. The boys have the most valu­able play-off ex­pe­ri­ence than the other teams and can def­i­nitely han­dle the pres­sure.

“They have given me a lot so I’m ex­pect­ing the same fight­ing spirit that they have given all around. These are the same crop of play­ers that played last year,” the coach said Ma­sutha.

Stars were forced into the play­offs through the back­door with sec­ond-di­vi­sion sides Leop­ards and Cos­mos af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond-last in the Pre­mier­ship last sea­son. They had re flirted with rel­e­ga­tion to the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion (NFD).

Dik­wena, who got a sec­ond chance to stay in the Pre­mier­ship af­ter Ajax Cape Town were docked points by a Fifa ar­bi­tra­tion that saw them au­to­mat­i­cally rel­e­gated, will face Cos­mos in the last play­off match on Satur­day.

Stars can still top the final stand­ings in the mini league only if Cos­mos win at Leop­ards, then lose at home to Stars on Satur­day which would leave all three clubs on five points and there­fore bring­ing goal dif­fer­ence into play.

Ma­sutha also con­grat­u­lated striker Mwape Mu­sonda who has been lethal in front of goal and had tongues wag­ging in the Stars match af­ter scor­ing a sensational brace.

The burly Zam­bia-born striker equalised twice in a 2-2 draw at Plat­inum Stars in a thrilling match. His first goal was a mas­ter class of agility and tim­ing as he scored via a bi­cy­cle kick rem­i­nis­cent of Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale’s ef­fort in the Uefa Champions League final against Liver­pool.

“Mwape be­longs in the Pre­mier­ship. He works so hard at train­ing and pushes him­self to the limit ev­ery day,” said his coach af­ter the Cos­mos match

Coach Ma­sutha hailed the goal poacher as the “Ron­aldo” of South Africa af­ter his won­der goal pushed the club closer to pro­mo­tion into elite league.

“That goal re­sem­bled the Cris­tiano Ron­aldo bi­cy­cle-kick goal for Real Madrid against Juventus in the Champions League this sea­son,” said Ma­sutha.

Many South Africans will have missed the Mu­sonda goal as they were watch­ing Real Madrid beat Liver­pool 3-1 in the Champions League final at the same time.

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