May 28, 2017

Wits crowned PSL champions!

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Ruling the roost… Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt celebrates after his team won the PSL league for the first time in history.

Ruling the roost… Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt celebrates after his team won the PSL league for the first time in history.

With Wits crowned PSL Champions for the first time in the history of the club, all eyes are on the relegation zone which has also ‘gone down to the wire’.

Bidvest Wits won the 2016/17 Absa Premiership title after defeating Polokwane City 2-0 at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

This was after Mamelodi Sundowns dropped points against Maritzburg United, while the Clever Boys secured a victory over Rise and Shine, who remain sixth on the league table.

It took only three minutes for James Keene to fire Wits into the lead when he headed past Polokwane goalkeeper George Chigova to make it 1-0 to the home side.

Lorence Vilakazi, the Polokwane midfielder, then tried his luck from range in the 17th minute, but his attempt was well saved by Wits shot-stopper Darren Keet.

However, the South African goalkeeper and his defence were able to contain Polokwane and the score was 1-0 to Wits at the interval.

Polokwane coach Bernard Molekwa made the first change of the game when he pulled out Walter Musona for Rendai Ndou just three minutes into the second-half.

But the home side doubled their lead on the hour-mark when Daine Klate fired past Chigova to make it 2-0 to Wits much to the delight of their fans.

The Clever Boys then dominated the remaining minutes of the match – attacking in numbers as they looked to extend their lead. However, Polokwane center back Thapelo Tshilo and his team-mates were able to contain Wits, who emerged 2-0 winners at home in the end.

With Wits crowned PSL Champions for the first time in the history of the club, all eyes are on the relegation zone which has also ‘gone down to the wire’.

The Weekly takes a look at the run-ins for the five teams in danger of relinquishing premiership privileges:

Bloemfontein Celtic: Celtics’ remaining game against Maritzburg United, who pulled off an unexpected stunt that cost Mamelodi Sundowns the trophy, will surely be an exciting match as the lads from Bloemfontein will put up a fight of their lives to remain in the league.

Celtic CEO Max Tshabalala has also promised the players R30 000 incentives if they win that match, in addition to the normal R10 000 for a win and R5 000 for a draw bonuses in their contracts. No doubt Siwelele will have everything to play for and might just come away with three points which will see them end the season on 31 points.

Chippa United: Their midweek victory against the inconstant SuperSport might be a morale booster ahead of their anticipated thrill-a-minute encounter against fellow relegation candidates, Stars.

With Stars coming off a convincing 3-1 victory over Wits and a midweek draw with Celtic, they will surely not be walk-overs. The boys from Bethlehem might not have been promised money, but remaining in the league is everything and will give it their all on Sunday.

Free State Stars: Salvaging a point against Celtic on Wednesday after dishing out a whopping 3-1 to Bidvest Wits, Stars will wish they had collected maximum points against their neighbours as they go into a must win match against the stylish Chippa United on the last day, needing nothing but a victory to remain in the league. Stars are currently on 27 points after 29 games.

Baroka FC: Playing away at Ajax on the final day might prove to be too steep a mountain to climb for the PSL rookies who have struggled since day one. Baroka did claim a win at Cape Town City earlier in the campaign. However a win for them – which is not likely – will see them finish on 28 points which is not enough to guarantee them their PSL status next season.

Highlands Park: Following their disappointing game against Maritzburg United on Wednesday, dethroned champions Sundowns are expected to close the season in style at Highlands.

The team is currently sitting on 26 points after 29 games. Should they claim an unlikely victory, they will finish on 29 points.

With all these games playing on the Saturday, it’s to be expected that some fans will shed tears of joy after escaping relegation by a whisker while others will be left to rue what could have been, as they look forward to life in the National First Division.

Additional Information: IOL (Wits crowned champions).

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