Sport

NFD sides Ajax Cape Town, Free State Stars begin long journey to PSL

NFD sides Ajax Cape Town, Free State Stars begin long journey to PSL

DURBAN – The battle to campaign in top-flight football will kick off this weekend.

All the GladAfrica Championship (National First Division) sides have set their sights on making a step up to the Premiership.

The team that will finish at the summit of the table will be promoted automatically to top-flight football, and the runner-up and third-placed teams will compete in the promotion/relegation playoffs.

We look at three big matches that the fans can look forward to…

Ajax Cape Town v Free State Stars

Three seasons ago, both sides were campaigning in the Premiership, but they find themselves in the lower league fighting to get promoted.

The two sides will square off at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday at 3pm. Stars were relegated last season.

The Urban Warriors failed to win promotion last season. They missed out on the playoffs on the last day of the league.

Grant Margeman will be looking to make things happen for Ajax in the middle of the park. He enjoyed a good Cosafa Cup tournament with Bafana Bafana.

Stars have made wholesale changes to their set-up. They parted with journeyman Serbian coach Nikola Kavazovic, and the duo of Themba Sithole and Duncan Lechesa will steer the ship for Stars.

Swallows FC v TS Sporting

The return of the old Moroka Swallows – as Swallows FC – is what everyone will be talking about.

The Dube Birds are pitted against Sporting at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

Swallows are one of the oldest teams in South African football, and their return has brought smiles to their diehard fans in Mzansi.

The Birds have strengthened their squad with the signing of former South African international midfielder Lebohang Mokoena from Maccabi FC.

The former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns winger was colossal for Maccabi last season as he helped them cement their NFD status.

Lebohang Mokoena, seen here in action for Maccabi FC, has bolstered Swallows FC this season. Photo: Phando Jikelo//ANA
Lebohang Mokoena, seen here in action for Maccabi FC, has bolstered Swallows FC this season. Photo: Phando Jikelo//ANA

Swallows will be led by coach Zeca Marques, who previously coached the Soweto side and Black Leopards in the top-flight.

For Sporting, last season was all about survival, and they will be looking to challenge for honours in their second season.

OTHER FIXTURES THIS WEEKEND

Saturday: Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila v Cape Umoya (Thohoyandou Stadium, 3pm)

Sunday: TS Galaxy v Jomo Cosmos (Kameelrivier Stadium, 1pm), Richards Bay v JDK Stars (Umhlathuze Sports Complex, 3pm), Pretoria University v Steenberg United (Tuks Stadium, 3pm), Royal Eagles v Mbombela United (Chatsworth Stadium, 3pm).

@Minenhlecr7

The Mercury