By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
JULY 23 was a lucky day for football fans in Limpopo, especially the district of Capricorn.
The first good news came earlier on the day when Baroka FC registered their third victory in the national play-offs of the SAFA Second division under-way in Ekurhuleni’s townships of Daveyton and Thembisa.
The 1-0 victory over CapeTown All Stars earned them the much needed three points to seal their place in the final of these championships and an automatic promotion to the National First Division. Unlike last year when they failed to live to the expectations in the play-offs which they were the host in Polokwane, Limpopo’s capital, this time around the club from Ga-Mphahlele near the capital city of the defunct homeland of Lebowa, Lebowakgomo showed their intentions to earn promotion when they won their first game to a convincing 4-0 over Mthata Bucks before they could turn the heat on Mbombela United with a 4-2 drubbing and today’s 1-0 over the Cape side saw them comfortably sit on the five clubs Group A log with nine points.
The Sello Chokoe coached side’s closest rivals, Mbombela United has bagged six points and they won’t overtake the Limpopo side even if they win their last match even if Baroka lost due to a bigger margin of goal difference. For the record Baroka has +8 goals as opposed to United’s +1 and it means the Mpumalanga based side will have to beat Cape Town All Stars with more than eight goals without the Cape side replying while praying that the Limpopo side lose with at least 10 goals to nothing when they take on Young Stars in their last match.
Those with good memories will remember Baroka’s fairy-tale under Chokoe’s guidance when they beat the likes of Moroka Swallows and Kaizer Chiefs in the early rounds of the Nedbank Cup before they could lose to fellow Limpopo based side, Black Leopards in the semi-finals of the Ke Yona Cup in 2011.
More good news for Limpopo was the confirmation by the Premier Soccer League that an arbitrator has ruled in their favour in the case involving Thanda Royal Zulu, thus confirming that Polokwane City can celebrate their promotion to the Absa Premiership.
City finished their 2012/13 season on top of the National First Division which guaranteed their an automatic promotion to the elite league, however their celebration was put on ice pending on Thanda’s case. Ironically Polokwane City and Baroka comes from almost the same area covering less than 50km apart. City has since been joined by Mpumalanga Black Aces who earn promotion via the demanding promotional/relegation play-offs and they will both occupy the positions of Black Leopards and Chippa United who were relegated from the in the elite.