Maritzburg United supporters will be holding their breath ahead of the teams crucial tie. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Is there  a club more deserving of relegation than the other?

When you have 30 matches and all you can manage is less than 30 points, surely you deserve to play in the lower division?

Since I started covering professional football some 23 years ago, it has generally been accepted that 30 points is the mark every club needs to avoid relegation.

Using this logic, Maritzburg United should get the chop. Going into the final day of the season tomorrow, the Midlands outfit are the only side guaranteed not to get 30 points  even if they were to win.

Bottom of the table on 26 points, the Team of Choice can only get to 29 points and that is only if they beat the equally in danger Baroka FC in Polokwane.

A win for Maritzburg will also mean Baroka can’t reach 30 points, Bakgaga sitting on 28 points currently. It is for this reason that this clash is perhaps the biggest of all the relegation ties.

But which of these two should be chopped?

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler must steer his team to a win at Baroka tomorrow to avoid automatic relegation. Photo: BackpagePix

Many will probably lean towards Maritzburg given the KZN outfit has propped up the table all season long until Eric Tinkler lifted them up to give them a fighting chance.

After all, why did club boss Farouk Kadodia get rid of young coach Fadlu Davids who led them to their maiden cup final in the Nedbank Cup last season and replace him with Muhsin Ertugral?

He deserves to pay for having treated a long-serving servant badly, the argument is likely to go. For Pete’s sake Maritzburg previously survived on the last day of the season but have not learnt from that, right?

What of Baroka then? Why should they go down? Did they get cocky after their Telkom Knockout heroics which saw them win their maiden elite league trophy via victory over Orlando Pirates?

Their giant-killing spree en route to that triumph made them think of themselves as having arrived and they ignored the fact that to stay afloat in the elite league requires them to get points even against the other smaller teams.

Rooi Mahamutsa will look to us his experience to steer Free State Stars out of automatic relegation. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix


Their sympathisers argue new coach Wedson Nyirenda worked with a team in construction given the departure of a few key players, and the fact that he delivered a trophy is reason enough for him to get another chance. But surely the Telkom Knockout success should have served as motivation for the team to do even better in the league?

The other three teams in the relegation scrap are on 27 points.

Black Leopards are in the play-off 17th spot despite enjoying massive support home. With that kind of backing, Lidoda Duvha should have easily amassed the 30 points from their home games alone.

They have a potential Golden Boot winner in Mwape Musonda, the Zambian having found the net 16 times. But Leopards needed the other strikers to contribute to the goals while the rearguard should have been a bit miserly.

Dylan Kerr and his men have to beat a Cape Town City side that hammered them 3-0 in the first round to stay afloat. Will they make home advantage count?

The other two sides in the dogfight are at home too, no doubt hoping the fans play a key role.

Free State Stars look to be in serious trouble as they host a Mamelodi Sundowns side desperate for maximum points to retain their league title.

Ea Lla Koto have been in this situation before many will feel they should just go down.

Like Baroka, they have failed to ride on the momentum of a cup success, Stars having won the Nedbank Cup at the end of last season only to begin this one poorly. They face a very tough game that they are most likely going to lose.

And then there is Chippa United. What does one say of the Chilli Boys?

Football fans have been saying that relegation is the only way to stop club boss Chippa Mpengesi from being trigger happy when it comes to coaches.

Clinton Larsen is incredibly the fifth coach in charge of Chippa this season and he needs to lead the side to victory over Kaizer Chiefs to ensure survival.

Amakhosi are pretty wobbly and Chippa should get something out of this match.

By the looks of it, all of these five teams deserve the chop. Only one will go down automatically though. Should I call it?

Free State Stars are most in trouble.

@Tshiliboy 


The Star

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