Down to the wire: Relegation battle reaches fever pitch

By Michael Madyira

While much focus is on teams bidding to finish the season as runners-up to Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns, the battle to avoid relegation has heated up.

Six teams, Maritzburg United, Chippa United, Marumo Gallants, AmaZulu, Swallows FC and TS Galaxy are scrambling to stay afloat.

Most of these clubs are left with three games to retain their top-flight league status.

Basement side Maritzburg have what looks like a difficult fixture programme to avoid demotion.

They host 14th-placed Marumo Gallants next Wednesday and they will be facing a team that is undefeated in the last seven league games and has picked up confidence from a dream campaign in the Caf Confederation Cup.

After the Gallants match, Maritzburg will then welcome tricky Stellebosch before wrapping up their campaign with a trip to champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

“We know only a good performance can get us a result against Marumo,” Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids told the media.

“We are at home and we need our supporters behind us because we are not down and out. We are going to fight in the next game, we are going for three points and be positive.

“We know that in our next two home matches if we collect six points we stand a big chance to be able to make it.”

Chippa United are second from bottom and have been enduring a chaotic season in which five coaches have taken charge of the club.

On Thursday, they lost 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs in what was Lehlohonolo Seema’s first match on his return to the Chilli Boys.

“I saw the fight we have been missing,” said Seema as he describes their remaining three games as “Cup finals.”

Thirteenth-placed AmaZulu could be ruing their decision to fire Brandon Truter who is now doing well at Sekhukhune United.

On position 12 are Swallows who have entrusted greenhorn Musa Nyatama to lead the team’s survival bid.

“It’s been stressful,” said Nyatama.

“It’s not easy, especially for a new coach like me, it has been stressful. It’s a big responsibility for me but I need to take it.”

TS Galaxy are not safe either with six points better than bottom-placed Maritzburg and their penultimate fixture would be a relegation battle against Chippa.

Pictured above: Relegation battle between Maritzburg United and Swallows FC

Image source: Maritzburg United


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