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Football | Absa Premiership

Rhulani Manzini © Gallo Images

Stars look to send Chippa to NFD

Free State Stars will play host to Chippa United in an Absa Premiership encounter at the Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 3:00pm.

Ea Lla Koto drew 0-0 with their provincial rivals Bloemfontein Celtic in their previous league match at the Dr. Molemela Stadium week Wednesday.

Stars are now unbeaten in two league matches - having defeated newly crowned league champions Bidvest Wits 3-1 at home, before facing Celtic.

However, Stars are placed 14th on the league table with 27 points from 29 matches. They are only a point above the relegation zone.

A victory for Stars over the Chilli Boys on Saturday will see the Bethlehem-based side survive relegation to the National First Division (NFD).

Stars head coach Serame Letsoaka is confident that his side will overcome Chippa as his charges know exactly how to deal with their current situation.

“Going into the last game playing at home that is a plus for us it’s really difficult to come out of Goble Park with three points and we’re certain that on the 27th of May after five o’clock, we’ll be safe from relegation,” Letsoaka said.

“We’re not worried about relegation especially playing at home. Like I said, our boys have been dealing with this for a very long time they know that it’s something that exists.

“But this is the animal we are fighting and again in the last match we not going to stop fighting until we defeat this animal which is called relegation.”

Meanwhile, Chippa were defeated 4-2 on penalties by SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup semifinal encounter at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium last weekend.

Prior to that, Rhulani Manzini's hat-trick had earned the Chilli Boys a 3-0 victory over SuperSport in a league game in Port Elizabeth last week Wednesday.

The impressive victory over Matsatsantsa ended the Eastern Cape side's losing streak in the league. They had recorded five consecutive defeats.

Chippa are now placed 13th on the league standings with 27 points from 29 matches. They are only above 14th-placed Stars on goal difference.

The Chilli Boys, who were relegated to the NFD at the end of the 2012/13 season, need a to beat Stars in order to guarantee their safety in the elite league.

Dan Malesela, the Chippa head coach, says they will have to adopt a cautious approach against Ea Lla Koto as they look to retain their status in the top-flight.

“We have options, option 1 to win and option 2 to draw. This means we will be very cautious in our approach," Malesela said.

“This probably puts pressure on Free State Stars but also on us because they will go all out to win.

“We will be up to it. We will take a draw or a win on Saturday. No extra motivation is needed. We are all well aware of the situation and where the club is," he added.

“The supporters came to speak to us before the SuperSport (United) league game. Commitment still stands. We must do all to save this club."

Rhulani Manzini netted a brace as Chippa defeated Stars 2-1 in the first-round league match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - with Charles Kampi scoring for Ea Lla Koto last August.


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