Chippa United a point away from PSL glory
The Chippa United players have been warned against overconfidence as they prepare to do battle for promotion to the Absa Premiership.
The Chilli Boys meet Santos at the Philippi Stadium on Saturday at 15H00 in the final promotion play-off game, which determines who will join the University of Pretoria in playing in the top flight.
Chippa need only a point to earn their place in the top flight, while the Peoples’ Team have to win to avoid being relegated. The stakes could not be higher between these two Cape sides, one an established institution, the other the new kid on the block.
On Wednesday afternoon in the heat of Richards Bay, Chippa ensured they went into Saturday’s game in pole position on five points (Santos have four) after beating Thanda Royal Zulu 3-0.
Could this however mean that the Chippa players will be at the risk of suffering from fatigue, having played two huge games in the space of three days?
Not so says team manager Wanda Mbenguzana, who explains that special plans were made to ensure that the players are as fresh as possible going into the final game.
“We decided to leave early for KZN, so when Thanda departed Cape Town last Saturday after beating Santos, we travelled with them.
“That meant that we had time to adequately adjust ourselves to the conditions up there and to make sure that the game in Richards Bay did not take everything out of us.
“It also allowed us to train, when in Cape Town we may have missed training due to the rainy weather. So the boys are all in good shape and ready to give it their best shot against Santos,” he told the PSL website.
Going into the game in a position of advantage could result in the Chippa players not approaching the game with enough intensity, but Mbenguzana says this should not be a problem.
“Everyone is aware that we cannot be overconfident. We know how badly Santos will also want to win this game. We will go into the match looking only to get three points. Should we fail to do that, one point will be enough, but we cannot go looking only for a draw.”
The Philippi Stadium has been a cauldron of passionate support for the township-based side all season, and on Saturday all roads from the surrounding areas will be leading to only one destination – a sell-out crowd is a given.
“There is great excitement around this game, the people are desperate to have their side in the PSL – on Saturday you will feel it (the vibe),” said Mbenguzana.
Leading marksman Joshua Sauls remains sidelined with injury, but other than that the squad has a clean bill of health.
“If he had been available we would have been promoted already. But it would be suicidal to risk trying to bring Joshua back in for this game, we would rather make sure he is fit and ready to play next season, hopefully for us in the PSL.”