Somila Ntsundwana the hero as Richards Bay see off AmaTuks in PSL promotion playoff

Somila Ntsundwana (left) of Richards Bay, seen here challenging Tuks’ Tebogo Mohlmonyane for possession, scored the winning goal on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

Somila Ntsundwana (left) of Richards Bay, seen here challenging Tuks’ Tebogo Mohlmonyane for possession, scored the winning goal on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 5, 2024


Richards Bay FC secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over the University of Pretoria in their opening PSL promotion/relegation play-off match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi on Wednesday.

The Natal Rich Boyz ensured they took charge of the three-team mini-log as they climbed to the top with three points, thanks to a first-half goal by striker Somila Ntsundwana.

Tuks dropped to second on three points from two games, while Baroka occupy the bottom spot, having not registered any points after losing their first encounter 1-0 to Tuks.

Ntsundwana broke the deadlock between the two teams with a well-taken strike in the 22nd minute after Richards Bay withstood early pressure.

The 27-year-old pounced on a knockdown by strike partner Yanela Mbuthuma, before cutting in from the left-hand channel and curling an effort past Tuks goalkeeper Edward Maova.

The onus was placed on hosts Richards Bay to try to collect their first three points, with their opponents having registered their first win against Baroka on Sunday.

Natal Rich Boyz coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi embraced the responsibility ahead of the encounter, and expressed the complexity of preparing for Tuks’ “old-school” playing style.

In his attempts to limit the long-ball ability of the visitors, Vilakazi deployed striker Mbuthuma up front, with his high-pressing ability required.

It was to no surprise that the game’s first real chance fell for Tuks through a lofted cross into the box.

The tall figure of striker Kamohelo Pheeane rose highest about 10m from goal to meet a Tshepang Makara cross, but his attempt missed the post by the smallest of margins.

In the 15th minute, it was the turn of attacker Delano Abrahams to get his chance at goal as he latched on to a Thabang Sibanyoni flick, but his attempted volley also went wide, with home goalkeeper Salim Magoola rooted to the floor.

After battling to keep the scores level early on, Richards Bay settled the game and began to take control of possession in the first half.

Tuks head coach Tlisane Motaung would’ve been slightly frustrated at the half-time break with his side’s failure to ask more of Magoola, despite making several attempts at Richards Bay’s goal.

With the knowledge that a loss would see them relinquish top spot, Tuks returned to the field with a greater purpose and imposed themselves on the opposition once more.

Sibanyoni, who had been a menace to Richards Bay, almost restored parity with yet another glancing header in the 55th minute, but Magoola was alive to it and made a spectacular close-range save.

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The Pretoria outfit suffered from a lack of calm and creativity in and around the box due to the absence of captain and attacking midfielder Samuel Julies in the No 10 role.

Realising the drop in energy levels, Vilakazi called on the substitutes as he made three changes in the 69th minute.

Defensive midfield duo Langelihle Mhlongo and Romario Dlamini joined the action alongside centre-back Sibusiso Mthethwa, for attackers Ntsako Makhubela, Moses Mthembu and defender Thabani Dube.

The hosts executed a perfect tactical plan and walked away the winners of a highly contested match.

The next fixture in the play-offs will see Richards Bay travel to Limpopo for a clash against Baroka on Saturday (3pm).