Msekeli Mvalo, right, of Cape Town All Stars clears ahead of Dumisani Tau of Real Kings during a NFD game at Parow Park last month. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cape Town All Stars bid farewell to the Mother City when they play their final National First Division (NFD) game against Real Kings in Durban on Sunday afternoon.

Established in 2010, the club has represented the Cape with pride – but there is no doubt the lower tier is a difficult division to negotiate, both financially and on the field of play.

All Stars have been sold and, from next season, they will campaign out of Gauteng as Swallows FC.

So, as they go into the final match today, the team’s technical director Desmond Crowie is feeling a bit desolate at the sale of the promising Cape club, but he is nevertheless happy with the contribution they’ve made over the years.

“It’s sad to see the end of All Stars,” said Crowie. “This club has produced many top players. For example, in the recent PSL match between Wits and Pirates, there were seven players on the field who were all formerly from All Stars.

“This season, the team came together very nicely under coach Brandon Truter. The players improved a lot and did very well under his guidance.

“So the cherry on the cake in this final game will be to win and give the club a good send-off.

“Performance-wise, the team has done well. Brandon has a great rapport with the players and our style of play is very eye-catching.

“The build-up play is good, and we are always referred to as a good ball-playing side. It’s just that luck hasn’t been on our side.”

While All Stars say goodbye, the region has to hope that it doesn’t also lose Ubuntu Cape Town from the NFD.

The rookie club faces a really tight relegation battle this afternoon. Currently second-last on the standings, Ubuntu tackle Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at Parow Park today (3pm kickoff), and to avoid relegation, they have to win and at the same time hope that other results favour them as well.

The basement of the NFD is as follows: Mthatha Bucks, on 21 points, are already relegated, followed by Ubuntu on 29 points, Super Eagles 31, Richards Bay 31 and Uthongathi 31.

The other Western Cape team in action on the final day of NFD fixtures is Stellenbosch FC, and they provide the backdrop for the crowning of the division’s runaway champions Highlands Park.

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The two sides meet at Athlone Stadium this afternoon (3pm). At the conclusion of the match, Highlands will be presented with the NFD league trophy and the players handed their winners’ medals.

But to add to the Cape’s woes in the NFD, there has also been much speculation that Stellenbosch, too, could be sold by the time the new campaign gets under way next season.

Today’s NFD Fixtures

Super Eagles v Mthatha Bucks; Uthongathi FC v Pretoria University; Real Kings v Cape Town All Stars; Mbombela United v Richards Bay; Stellenbosch FC v Highlands Park (Athlone Stadium, 3pm); Ubuntu Cape Town v Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (Parow Park, 3pm); Royal Eagles v Witbank Spurs; Black Leopards v Jomo Cosmos.

 

Weekend Argus