Somila Ntsundwana brace as Richards Bay retain Premiership spot

SOMILA Ntsundwana (No 45) celebrates with his Richards Bay teammates after scoring against Baroka FC on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

SOMILA Ntsundwana (No 45) celebrates with his Richards Bay teammates after scoring against Baroka FC on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 20, 2024


RICHARDS Bay retained their top-flight status in style as they thumped Baroka FC 4-0 at the King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi on Wednesday.

The Natal Rich Boyz ensured their place in next season’s DStv Premiership and top spot in the PSL play-offs mini-league with eight points, with Baroka in last place (two) and the University of Pretoria second (five).

Somila Ntsundwana opened the scoring by grabbing his second goal of the play-offs with a wonderfully taken overhead kick in the 36th minute.

The big attacker again benefited from fine work by Yanele Mbuthuma, who ghosted in behind the Baroka defence before setting up Ntsundwana to smash home from close range.

Baroka were sinking quickly under the pressure, and were soon two goals down through a deflected Sanele Barnes free-kick three minutes before half-time.

Richards Bay kicked off against Bakgakga knowing that they would only need to avoid defeat in front of their own supporters in uMlazi.

However, having collected 21 points of their 30 at home in the regular season, head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi would’ve been very confident ahead of this encounter.

It also showed in his starting XI as he made just two changes to the team that drew with University of Pretoria last time out.

Nkosikhona Ndaba and Ntsako Makhubela made way for the energy of Tshepo Mabua and Thato Mohlamme as they looked to get off to a flying start.

The club’s decision to allow free entry into the game worked in their favour as the thousands in attendance took the energy levels to a level the hosts needed to match.

And they did so by creating a glorious chance to take the lead inside three minutes through their departing star man Sanele Barns.

The Premiership midfielder of the season nominee was delightfully found by attacking partner Mbuthuma inside the box, but he failed to make use of the room afforded him and dragged his effort wide.

Mbuthuma was proving to be a menace for the visitors and inside 10 minutes he was again at the heart of the next big chance for the home side.

The speedy striker was played through by Tercious Malepe, but his powerful shot was parried wide by goalkeeper Katlego Molefe.

Baroka attempted to wrestle the game back into balance, and did that successfully for the next 15 minutes, creating the chance of the game in the 25th minute.

Visiting striker Siyabonga Mtombeni somehow completely missed a bouncing cross inside the six-metre box, a chance he would go on to rue 10 minutes later.

It was looking highly unlikely that Baroka were going to score the four goals they needed to upset the odds and gain promotion to the top flight.

Any hopes were quickly extinguished by Ntsundwana, who grabbed his second goal midway through the second half.

Baroka were at sixes and sevens at the back, and the big man ran through his man at the back post before slotting past the on-rushing keeper to all but seal the game for the hosts.

Right back Lwandle Mabuya would go on to add a further goal to put some gloss on the result.