PSL hunt

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MOHAU RAMASHIDJA

BLACK LEOP­ARDS will need to do some­thing they have never done be­fore in their pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters with Stellenbosch FC when the two sides lock horns in tonight’s PSL pro­mo­tion play-off tie at Athlone Sta­dium (Kick-off 7.30pm).

The Lim­popo side must beat the Capeto­ni­ans to stay in con­tention for a spot in the Absa Pre­mier­ship.

Yet, hav­ing failed to do so in their three en­coun­ters with their fel­low Na­tional First Divi­sion (NFD) side, in­di­ca­tions are that Baroka FC will re­tain their elite league spot.

Bak­gaga are top of the three team mini-league play­offs on an unas­sail­able seven points with a match (against Leop­ards) to go.

Li­doda Du­vha thus need to beat both Stellenbosch (al­ready out of con­tention) and Baroka if they are to be pro­moted.

But they go to Athlone tonight on the back of a goal­less draw in the play­offs, their best re­sult against Sammy Troughton’s side who beat them twice (3-2 and 2-1) in the NFD.

An ev­i­dent weak­ness for Li­doda Du­vha has been their in­abil­ity to score goals, though they tend to be very smooth mov­ing from de­fence right into at­tack.

With his su­perb pass­ing skills, Siphelele Nt­shangase is the creative ge­nius who makes the Tho­hoyan­dou-based side tick. But his at­tack­ing part­ners have gen­er­ally dis­ap­pointed him, fail­ing to make good use of the op­por­tu­ni­ties he cre­ates for them.

Against a Stellenbosch side that has noth­ing but pride to play for, Leop­ards should fancy their chances.

But their keep­ing the play­offs alive will re­quire their for­wards to fire much bet­ter than they’ve been do­ing so far.

Be­sides, Stel­lies won’t sim­ply roll over for the vis­i­tors even though they are out of the run­ning.

They want to fin­ish off on a good note.

De­spite their dis­ap­point­ing play-off cam­paign, Stellenbosch coach Sammy Troughton was de­ter­mined that his men would put up a fight to­day; they weren’t about to hand Leop­ards an easy win.

“This com­pe­ti­tion de­serves that we do a pro­fes­sional job,” said Troughton. “We have to go out there and give our best. We’ll pick a de­cent team, we’ll give Leop­ards a run, even though there is noth­ing at stake for us. We have to try to, at least, win one of our games in the com­pe­ti­tion.”

He added: “We are al­ready out of the race and now it’s a mat­ter of play­ing for pride. The boys are fired up. They know that the game will be tele­vised and that it’s also a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for them to be seen by other coaches (in the PSL). We’ve played against this side be­fore. We beat them twice but we are ex­pect­ing them to pull out the stops to win. It’s go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult match.

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