PSL play-off picture still unclear

football13 May 2024 06:15| © Mzansi Football
article image
AmaZulu © BackpagePix

The promotion/regelation battle in the DStv Premiership and Motsepe Foundation Championship (MFC) is going down to the wire it seems and may only be determined on the final day of the respective league campaigns.

We know who is coming up and going down automatically, Magesi FC will replace Cape Town Spurs in the topflight, but as to who will take part in the three-team play-off remains uncertain.

The team that finishes 15th in the DStv Premiership is joined by the clubs that end second and third in the MFC, which concludes this coming weekend.

Here is a look at who is still in contention in both divisions.



Matches played: 29

Points / goal-difference: 48 / +8

AmaTuks have stumbled at the worst possible point of the season and no wins in six (D4 L2) has taken them from promotion favourites to now trying to cling on to a play-off spot. They drew at local rivals Pretoria Callies again this past weekend and will finish the regular season at home to promotion rivals Baroka FC, who will move above them with a win. Ironically, AmaTuks now need just a draw to be sure of a top three spot, but can they get it? They do have the best defence in the division with only 21 goals conceded, but 29 goals scored in 29 games is their issue.


Matches played: 29

Points / goal-difference: 46 / +9

Baroka FC shot up the table on the back of three success wins but were held to what they will see as a frustrating draw at home to JDR Stars this past weekend. Veteran coach Dan Malesela has the team singing and he will know what it takes to get them over the line and back into the DStv Premiership. They take on AmaTuks in their final game, where only a win guarantees them a top three spot.


Matches played: 29

Points / goal-difference: 46 / +4

Stars are only outside the top three on goal-difference and are enjoying an nine-game unbeaten run (W6 D3), so have momentum and form on their side. Counting against them is the fact they have the worst defensive record in the top five with 28 goals conceded and the second-worse attack with 32 scored. They play promotion-chasing Maritzburg United at home on the final day, where a win will get them into the top three with AmaTuks and Baroka facing off.


Matches played: 29

Points / goal-difference: 43 / +11

Maritzburg’s late season surge has brought them into contention, but they will have to win their final game at JDR Stars to stand a chance. They were dealt a massive blow when they were held to a draw by already relegated Platinum City Rovers this weekend. Counting in their favour is a +11 goal-difference, so they need to beat Stars and hope AmaTuks defeat Baroka. That is their only route to third.


Matches played: 29

Points / goal-difference: 43 / +6

Upington are in with a mathematical chance, but perhaps an unrealistic one. They need AmaTuks to beat Baroka, Maritzburg to narrowly beat JDR Stars and then themselves to wallop Casric Stars by probably six, seven or eight goals to overhaul Maritzburg on goal-difference. It seems most unlikely.



Matches played: 28

Points / goal-difference: 23 / -13

Some late season form that has seen them take 13 points from the last 18 available has seen Richards Bay climb clear of the automatic relegation place and very much in with a chance of complete safety. They are two points behind Royal AM, although the latter have a game in hand against Mamelodi Sundowns. Even if they do end up in the play-offs, their recent form will give them hope they can navigate them under coach Vusi Vilakazi. They have a ‘Cape Double’ to come, away at Cape Town City and home to Stellenbosch FC. Two very tough fixtures against teams hunting CAF club football next season.


Matches played: 27

Points / goal-difference: 29 / -16

All their off-field mismanagement is coming home to roost with a squad hamstrung by a Fifa ban and a club seemingly going nowhere … except perhaps down. They have lost their last four games and have a second meeting in three days with Sundowns on Tuesday. They will perhaps target their home clash with Chippa on Saturday to pull clear, but even a win there may not be enough. They have the second worst goal-difference in the league (-18) after bottom side Cape Town Spurs (-22), which also tells you something. This is a squad on life-support.


Matches played: 28

Points / goal-difference: 29 / -9

History suggests they are safe with 32 points, but nothing is certain until it is mathematically done. If Richards Bay get a couple of wins and Swallows only get one or zero from their final two games, they could finish second bottom. They are away at SuperSport United, which is tough to call given the wild form of their opponents, and then home to Royal AM, which could be a crucial clash on the final day. Still work to be done.


Matches played: 28

Points/goal-difference: 33 / -5

It would be a major shock were they to finish second bottom from here, but again, they are not mathematically safe in a season where they have drawn far too many games (12), including their last two matches. They need a point for safety and if they don’t get it at Sekhukhune United, you feel they will at home to Golden Arrows, who are safe and known for gifting points on the final day. They will be fine.


Matches played: 28

Points/goal-difference: 33 / -2

Mathematically still in the frame but realistically not, Chippa would need to lose both their games, Richards Bay win both theirs and there be a 10-goal swing on their respective goal-differences. But there will be disappointment at Chippa that they are still in the reckoning at all after a single point from the last 12 available after what had been a superb run in February through to April. That period was where they survived the drop, but those tiny doubts linger.