SIVUTSA Stars secured promotion to the National First Division after defeating Highlands Park 1-0 to finish top of the Inland Group in the 2011 Vodacom League Play-Offs currently under way in Cape Town. They also qualified for Sunday’s Play-Off finals against the winners of the Coastal Group.
Velile Zitha’s first half strike was enough to seal the three points that meant that no other team could finish above them, cuing unbridled celebration for the Mpumalanga side.
Baroka FC finished second in the group after coming from behind to beat Garankuwa United 3-2 at the Philippi Stadium. Tshepang Mabatla put Garankuwa into a first half lead but three goals in the second period – one from Msimeli Baloyi and a brace by Johannes Ramatsela – briefly kept their slim, yet ultimately futile hopes of promotion alive, before Mutomi Mosena pulled one back to give the scoreline an air of respectability.
Meanwhile, in the Coastal Group, local favourites, Chippa United moved to within a point of qualification for the NFD with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over their nearest rivals, Roses United at the Philippi Stadium. Goals by Roscoe Peterson and Clayton Edem saw Chippa go into the halftime break 2-0 ahead and Diego Brown doubled the advantage with two second half penalties, while Lebohang Kukame netted a late consolation for the Free Staters.
In the other Coastal Group fixture, a Khulekani Magubane strike was enough to hand Durban Stars a 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the U.W.C Stadium.
At midday on Saturday, Chippa United face Durban Stars at U.W.C, where a win will be sufficient to complete a remarkable rise for the Nyanga-based team, which didn’t even exist 18 months ago. Now they stand on the brink of promotion and have the opportunity to be crowned Vodacom League champions for 2011. At the same time, over at the Philippi Stadium, Real Madrid and FC Buffalo will meet to conclude the group phase of the play-offs.
The final will be played at the Philippi Stadium tomorrow at 3pm.-Backpagepix