Durban — Baroka were consigned to automatic relegation after falling to a 1-0 defeat against Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.
Maritzburg United skipper Clayton Daniels put his side ahead 10 minutes into the second half. The 35-year-old showed good positional awareness to get himself into a smart position after a ball was dinked into the Baroka box. He then showed good composure to slot the ball into the net.
Baroka started the game playing attacking football and creating chances but ultimately failed with poor end product in the final third.
Experienced goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane came to the rescue for Baroka after the half hour mark. Keegan Ritchie floated in a cross which Friday Samu met but the attacker failed to connect well with the ball.
It was the Team of Choice who dominated the opening half. Samu found the back of the net after 40 minutes but it was discounted as he was penalised for being offside.
Early in the second half, the upright came to the rescue of Baroka. A floated in forward cross from Ritchie was found by Tawanda Macheke whose effort struck the upright.
Just a minute later, it was Baroka who hit the post. Sbonelo Ngubane struck a well-hit shot from range and was unlucky to see his effort rattle the post.
While the result consigns Bakgaga to the GladAfrica Championship for next season, it mathematically ensured Maritzburg of another season in top-flight football.
After producing attacking brilliance later, Daniels once again led from the front for his side and made a vital defensive intervention in the 70th minute. Daniels was played into a good position and shot for goal before Daniels made a well-time intervention to kick the ball out of play.
Players from Baroka FC with international caps such as Evidence Makgopa will now have to evaluate their futures if they want to continue getting selected for international duty.
Maritzburg still have one remaining fixture which will be next Tuesday as they travel to Gauteng to play against Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium. As Ernst Middendorp’s side have avoided relegation, the game against Pirates is essentially a dead rubber for them. Pirates will however be hungry to beat the KwaZulu-Natal based side as a win can help them potentially qualify for continental competition next season.
Baroka will have their work-cut out this off season as they now prepare for the adjustment from top-fight to second-tier football.