Over the hill stars’ last ditch

The Na­tional First Di­vi­sion sea­son kicked off a fort­night ago with all 16 clubs tak­ing aim at the top spot to gain pro­mo­tion to the Absa Premier­ship, writes Ti­mothy Molobi

CityPress - - Sport -

In an ef­fort to re­vive their ca­reers and per­haps bounce back to the elite Absa Premier­ship, where money and glam­our abound, about 80 play­ers have taken a step down to show­case their skills in the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion (NFD). First di­vi­sion clubs, un­like their Premier­ship cousins – who play not only to win the ti­tle but fin­ish in the top eight and en­sure that rel­e­ga­tion is avoided – have only one mis­sion.

Theirs is to gain pro­mo­tion to the top league, which comes with a monthly grant of about R1.5 mil­lion, a big step up from the R380 000 they cur­rently re­ceive.

Among the top teams, there are also op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in three lu­cra­tive com­pe­ti­tions – the MTN8, Telkom Knock­out and Ned­bank Cup.

Most NFD clubs have gone for ex­pe­ri­ence as they take aim at the ul­ti­mate prize – win­ning the cham­pi­onship – by sign­ing up for­mer Premier­ship stars.

Top of the list is for­mer Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela, who will be look­ing to re­vive his dy­ing ca­reer at Royal Ea­gles.

The once most feared striker in the coun­try has been a pale shadow of his for­mer self as he tried un­suc­cess­fully to se­cure a con­tract at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria and Polok­wane City af­ter he was given his march­ing or­ders by Kaizer Chiefs.

This could be his last chance to re­claim his erst­while glory days.

Other play­ers who have taken a step down are Khethok­wakhe Ma­suku (for­merly of Or­lando Pi­rates) and Do­minic Isaacs (ex-Ajax Cape Town), who have joined the am­bi­tious KwaZulu-Natal club Ea­gles.

For­mer Moroka Swal­lows de­fender Rudi Isaacs has joined High­lands Park, while Namib­ian striker Ru­dolf Bester and Josta Dladla have gone to the Dube Birds.

New­com­ers Mthatha Bucks have for­mer Bloem­fontein Celtic striker Moses Span­deel, for­mer Black Leop­ards goal­keeper Postnet Omony and for­mer Chippa United and Mar­itzburg United striker Welcome Qalanto.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPI­X PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPI­X

RE­VIVAL Khethok­wakhe Ma­suku is hop­ing to re­vive his ca­reer at Ea­gles OUT OF SORTS Katlego Mphela has down­graded to the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion Baroka FC Black Leop­ards

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