By Mike de Bruyn
FC Cape Town are one win away from securing their place in the First Division play-offs.
With just two games left to play in the National First Division (NFD) Coastal Stream, the club's weekend 2-1 win over Nathi Lions, their first away victory over the Durban-based outfit since the inception of the NFD five years ago, couldn't have been better scripted.
It was invaluable as it now gives the Cape side a four point lead over third-placed African Warriors with only six points left to play for.
FC Cape Town, whose record to date from 19 games played, reads 10 wins, four losses (three in a row in the first round of matches) and five draws, are riding a five match unbeaten streak that includes four wins and a draw.
The club's last defeat was to city rivals Ikapa Sporting on a day when the difference between the two was the losing side's goalkeeper, who failed dismally in dealing with a regulation goal-kick clearance and paid for it by conceding the winning goal.
But since then it has been good going for coach Johnny Ferreira's boys. And the win over Lions was a brave performance after going 1-0 down. Ashley Hartog, in the unfamiliar position of striker, levelled matters midway through the second half before Calvin Mukendi Mulumba's strike in the 90th minute sealed the win and the three points.
With nearest rivals Warriors hammered 4-1 by Free State rivals and log leaders Carara Kicks, FC Cape Town must be favourites to secure one of the two play-off spots up for grabs. Carara's win sees them stay one point ahead at the top of the table and they will next play Lions at home then wrap up their campaign away Hanover Park.
Town will end their season off at home to relegated Durban Stars.
The cherry on top for one of these two sides would be to finish top of the table. This would entail two chances at winning promotion to the Premier League next season. The top teams from both streams (inland and coastal) will play each other to win automatic promotion while the losers will join the runners-up from both streams and the 15th team from the PSL in another series of play-offs to determine the second team promoted.
"Our next game will definitely be our most important of the season," said Ferreira. "For this reason there will be no Easter Holidays for the boys. We'll be practicing Friday, Saturday and Sunday to prepare for the match."
They will be without two key players through suspension. Inspiration captain Tshepo Moletsani and right back Samuel Eboule are serving a mandatory one match suspension for picking up three yellow cards.
There were also weekend wins for Cape sides Ikapa Sporting and Hanover Park, the former outlasting city rivals Vasco da Gama 2-1 while Park condemned Durban Stars to the Second Division next season after a 4-0 home win.