CAPE TOWN - Former Premier Soccer League champions Santos have been relegated from the National First Division after losing 3-0 at AmaZulu on Sunday.
It has been a season from hell for Lansdowne-based club.
The men from Athlone have managed only three wins from 28 games, leaving them hopelessly placed at the foot of the table, nine points behind the other side currently in the drop zone, Magesi FC of Limpopo, with two rounds left to play.
Now for life in the Second Division for Cape Town’s oldest club.
Santos were guided to the PSL title in the 2001-02 season under coach Gordon Igesund.
They were also crowned Bob Save Super Bowl winners in 2001 and BP Top 8 champions in 2002.
But The People’s Team have been on skid row since being relegated from the PSL in 2012.
Over the past five weeks Santos had myriad chances to improve their plight without doing so as six defeats from their last seven starts suggests.
“We gave it our best shot,” said Santos coach Tony de Nobrega. “Just wasn’t to be. I have to credit the players for giving it their all. Things just didn’t go our way at the end of the day.
“Now we have to go out with a bang, to show character and do the club proud.”
Three other Cape teams complete the bottom five, with third-bottom Milano United and FC Cape Town a place above them far from safe, while fifth-bottom Cape Town All Stars need two points from their final two games to keep their status intact for another season.
Meanwhile, the fifth Cape team, Stellenbosch FC, remained on course for the promotional play-offs following a 2-0 home win over Real Kings at Athlone Stadium on Saturday. They are in third place and the three-point haul took their tally to 46, one shy of second-placed Black Leopards - top-placed Thanda Royal have an unassailable lead and have won automatic promotion to the PSL next season.
The second and third-placed teams qualify for the play-offs along with the 15th team from the PSL. The trio will contest a mini-league on a home and away basis to determine the second team promoted to the top flight.
Wednesday: Pretoria University v Black Leopards; Santos v Witbank Spurs; AmaZulu v Jomo Cosmos; Thanda Royal Zulu v FC Cape Town; Milano v Stellenbosch FC; Royal Eagles v Mbombela United; Magesi FC v Real Kings; Mthatha Bucks v Cape Town All Stars