The PSL relegation/promotion play-offs always offer some drama and action beyond the domestic football season. Mlu takes a look at all three teams involved in this year’s mini-tournament!
Three teams will battle it out for a ticket to play in the DStv Premiership next season as Maritzburg United, Cape Town Spurs and Casric Stars gear up for the PSL’s promotional play-off tournament.
The mini-league will conclude on 14 June when Maritzburg host Spurs, with Maritzburg management confident that they will get the job done, just like they did in the 2018/19 season under Eric Tinkler.
The first game of the mini play-offs will be between Casric Stars and Cape Town Spurs on Suday, with the Solomon Mahlangu Stadium set to host the clash.
Maritzburg United’s best season was the year 2017/28 where they registered 11 wins and finished fourth with 44 points. They have managed seven wins or less in a season for the past two seasons and are in the relegation play-offs for the second time in four years.
Having managed to hold champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw in their last game, the Team of Choice could only sit back and watch on as the PSL 2022/23 season finale played out with much focus on whether Marumo Gallants and Chippa United would survive the drop or not.
Their opening game in the play-offs sees the take on Casric Stars at home on May 31. I think Stars will lose to Cape Town Spurs in their opening game and will come to Maritzburg a wounded, fatigued side. This is for Fadlu Davids and his men to take advantage of, and plan a way to win this game with little sweat.
But I wouldn’t go as far as saying Maritzburg are guaranteed winners of these play-offs… They arent even my pick to win against Casric. They just have been lingering in the bottom end of the table for far too many seasons, and perhaps this could be the end of their 14-year run in Mzansi’s top-flight division.
🚨 FIXTURE ALERT🚨— Maritzburg United FC (@MaritzburgUtd) May 23, 2023
Our Playoff schedule.
We start off with a home match against Casric Stars, followed by 2 away games, first against Cape Town Spurs and then Casric Stars and we end at home again with our 2nd leg fixture against Cape Town Spurs.#TeamOfChoice #pslplayoffs pic.twitter.com/ovEuqB30BE
Cape Town Spurs
Formerly known as Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Spurs ended their season with a 1-1 draw against University of Pretoria. A win here would have seen them win the division with 59 points to their name.
Instead, they finished second in the NFD behind Polokwane City, both sides collected 57 points, but Rise and Shine won the division on a better goal difference. A few seasons ago, the Mother City-based side finished on 57 points with winners Swallows, and again, fell short with an inferior goal difference.
Their opening game in the play-offs is against Casric Stars who are making a maiden appearance in this stage of South African football. The Urban Warriors will want to register a statement result here (nothing other than a win) and also hope for a favourable result when Casric and Maritzburg clash on Wednesday.
They won this fixture by a convincing 2-0 when they last faced Casric Stars in the league on 7 April at Athlone stadium. They have also managed to score a goal in each of their last five league games in the league – losing and drawing once. Spurs actually have a better chance at going toe-to-toe with Maritzburg United for the promotion.
Cape Town Spurs coach Shaun Bartlett reflects on missing out on automatic to the #DStvPrem 👇 pic.twitter.com/vdrCD8z59j— SuperSport Football ⚽️ (@SSFootball) May 14, 2023
Casric Stars purchased the status belonging to Free State Stars and have just completed their debut season in the DStv Premiership. It truly is an impressive accomplishment for them to be taking part in these promotional play-offs.
But they really should have secured automatic promotion, and would have done so had it not been for lack of concentration in the business end of the season. In their final three games of the campaign, Stars dropped half-a-dozen of points in draws against the University of Pretoria, Venda Football Academy and Cape Town All Stars – teams which are all below them on the log.
A win in any one of those draws would have seen them win the league with 58 points, but credit must be given to them for the remarkable effort.
Casric Stars are the side with the least experience in these play-offs, but we have seen just how determined they are as a unit. We saw that during one of their best games of this season when they beat Black Leopards by 3-1 in a memorable performance.
Furthermore, they will head into their encounter with Spurs well-aware that this is a w=game they can and should win, having beaten the Cape Town side once before (1-0) in the NFD on 17 Jan 2023.
After the resurgence of Motsepe Foundation Championship side, Casric Stars, news reaching the Siya crew is that another player has attracted interest from the Premiership. #SLSiya— Soccer Laduma (@Soccer_Laduma) May 22, 2023
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