CAPE TOWN - Five Cape First Division clubs could become three if Santos and Milano United don’t pull up their socks.

Santos are in pole position to be relegated.

The People’s Team were relegated from the PSL in 2012 and have only picked up three wins from 22 games. They find themselves propping up the 16-team table with eight games to play.

Last time out they travelled to Richards Bay to take on log leaders Thanda Royal Zulu and lost 2-0.

Thanda maintained their eight-point lead over second-placed Black Leopards and are odds-on to win automatic promotion to the PSL if they end the season off at the summit.

Santos, who won the PSL in 2002, next facer Mthatha Bucks (formerly Bush Bucks) who they meet on their home field.

Nothing less than a point will do against an opponent in fifth place and chasing a top-three finish.

“We have to come away from this match with points,” said Santos coach Tony de Nobrega. “I’ll take one but three would be better. But we’ve only bagged maximum points on three occasions, so a tough assignment awaits the boys and they must definitely see this game as an opportunity to show what they’re made of. I believe in the squad, they must now start believing more in themselves. They don’t want to be the side that cost the club their second-tier status.”

Third-bottom Milano of Grassy Park suffered yet another heavy defeat away to Real Kings, losing 5-1. Their coach, Boebie Solomons, left the club on Monday, and has been replaced in the interim by Douglas Williams and Byrone Hendricks. Under Solomons, Milano lost 14 times from 22 starts and have by far the worst defensive record, having conceded a staggering 43 goals with only 25 for.

“We lost games we should have won,” said Solomons.

Magesi leap-frogged Santos following their 4-2 home victory over fourth-placed Royal Eagles, the three points earned taking their tally to 18, one more than Santos and one less than Milano.

Meanwhile, Stellenbosch FC are the best-placed local side, in third spot. If that position is held until the end of the season it would secure them a place in the play-offs.

The second and third-placed teams join the 15th team from the PSL and contest a mini-league playing each other home and away to decide who wins promotion to the PSL next season.

As for the other two Cape teams, Cape Town All Stars and FC Cape Town are in the bottom five and must win more than they lose to ease their plight.

Solomons has been appointed technical director at FC Cape Town, and will assist head coach Johnny Ferreira.

Weekend Argus