Richards Bay can ‘Chippa way’ at Chilli Boys’ lead

Co-coach Kwanele Kopo has yet to taste victory with Chippa United this year. | BackpagePix

Co-coach Kwanele Kopo has yet to taste victory with Chippa United this year. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 6, 2024


The stakes are expected to be at an all-time high as a potential relegation six-pointer takes centre stage when Richards Bay travel to Chippa United tonight.

The two teams will collide at the Buffalo City Stadium in a 7.30pm kick-off, seeking what could prove to be a valuable three points in the final run-in. After their decent start to the campaign, the Chilli Boys have somewhat fallen off their wagon in the last 10 league matches and slipped out of the top eight into a potential relegation discussion in the process.

Chippa’s free fall cost coach Morgan Mammila (who is now a technical director) his job. The club appointed SuperSport United-groomed Thabo September and Kwanele Kopo on a co-coaching basis as they look to secure their place in next season’s Premiership.

Under the guidance of the two men, the Chilli Boys are yet to win a league game this year but on the flip side, they are yet to suffer defeat following back-to-back draws against Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC.

Chippa’s failure to collect maximum points in recent weeks has made way for 15th-placed Richards Bay to try to reel them into a relegation scrap with just seven points separating the two teams. The Natal Rich Boyz suffered a devastating derby defeat to 12th-placed Royal AM last time out, which will raise the stakes against a Chippa side still finding their groove.

Vusumuzi Vilakazi is planning Richards Bay’s path to safety in an effort to remain in the elite division. | BackpagePix

Richards Bay head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi has refused to throw in the towel and has been talking tough since the resumption of the second round of the campaign. He has promised a rejuvenated and spirited comeback from his boys who are now also feeling the pressure from Cape Town Spurs, who are building momentum in the basement.

The Urban Warriors won back-to-back games for the first time this season and moved to within three points of the relegation/promotion play-off spot currently occupied by Richards Bay.

Richards Bay have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven matches in all competitions and have let in a whopping 15 goals in the process, a worrying trend ahead of a vital match-up.

Having eased their relegation worries with their win over Richards Bay, Thwihli Thwala have now begun to look up the table and will do so again when they face Sekhukhune United, also tonight.

The two clubs are viable candidates for a place in the top eight at the end of the season with Babina Noko on 24 points and in eighth, while Royal AM are on 22 points but four places lower. Clashes between these two sides have been fearsome over the years following their huge spat in securing promotion to the top flight three years ago.

Sekhukhune could make it three wins on the bounce in this long-standing battle but will have to manage a tight schedule and tired bodies following their trip to Congo-Brazzaville, where they played out to a 0-0 draw against Diables Noirs.