JOHANNESBURG – The province of Limpopo could for the first time have three teams in the elite league next season. But then again they could also find themselves with only one.
Such is the situation as the 2017/18 Absa Premiership season heads into the final matchday tomorrow.
Currently with two teams, Baroka FC and Polokwane City, the province in the northern part of the country could see Black Leopards join these two if the National First Division (NFD) runners-up win the upcoming three-team promotional play-offs.
Conversely though, either of Baroka or City could be sucked into the play-offs that will also involve a Jomo Cosmos outfit that has always won the mini-league tournament whenever they’ve participated in it.
First though Baroka and City have to make their way through do-or-die clashes unscathed, Bakgaga needing a point from their clash with equally threatened SuperSport United in Atteridgeville while Rise and Shine must beat visiting Chippa United in the Limpopo capital.
Of course a lot will be dependent on how Ajax Cape Town do against Kaizer Chiefs, the 15th-placed Urban Warriors having to beat Amakhosi to put these teams in danger.
City coach Bernard Molekwa was his usual calm self though as he anticipated the match, their dire situation seemingly lost on him.
“We are not nervous at all,” Molekwa said “ It is not like we have not been doing well. The matches we lost, we lost through our mistakes which we have been rectifying. We have been scoring goals (30 in 29 matches), it’s just that sometimes defence was letting us down. But now all is Okay and we won’t make those small mistakes against Chippa.”
He says the team knows exactly what they have to do at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
“The boys are aware of what is at stake. We have to make sure that we are not in the play-offs. I’ve been telling them we must get the three points and see how far they can take us.”
Depending on how the teams above them fare, City can move up to eight spot were they to beat Chippa 3-0. Given the fact that the Chilli Boys are not under too much pressure except for their need to secure a top eight finish,City’s plight appears much easier than that of Baroka, who are positioned just a spot above in 12th place with a point more on 34.
While a draw will be enough for them to avoid the play-offs, they are up against a SuperSport side for whom a stalemate could spell disaster should Ajax beat Chiefs.
Former SuperSport star Letladi Madubanya, now Baroka’s captain, is feeling the pressure.
“I am anxious to play games of this magnitude,” he said “We could have avoided being where we are now but that’s football and we have to go out there and give a 100 percent.
“SuperSport is my former team, but it is not something I really think about. As a professional I’ve moved around a bit and my mind is just on this, the last game of the season and we just need a draw.”