Saturday May 21, 2022. 17:48
A dramatic Saturday in South Africa’s DStv Premiership ended with the relegation picture complete, though the equations for CAF club competition and MTN8 qualification remain up in the air.
Three outstanding fixtures involving Orlando Pirates (who saw their schedule affected by a run to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup) have been joined by a clash between already-crowned champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Royal AM, which was called off due to incessant rain and an unplayable pitch at the Chatsworth Stadium, as well as the derby between AmaZulu and Golden Arrows, which was suspended with roughly 75 minutes played and the score locked at 1-1, but ultimately postponed.
As far as CAF competition qualification goes, Mamelodi Sundowns will definitely play in the Champions League next season, and as things stand they will be joined by Cape Town City (though their second place finish could be usurped by either Royal or Pirates).
The Citizens ended the season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of local rivals Stellenbosch FC, who won the match thanks to a strike from Granwald Scott moved up to third place.
The significance of Stellies’ victory is not only in affecting City’s hopes of Champions League football, but it also raised them to Confederation Cup qualification (pending results of the outstanding games) and eliminated Kaizer Chiefs from the prospect of playing in the continent next season, as their 2-2 draw in a derby with Swallows FC means they will finish fourth at best.
The MTN8 qualification picture is also murky: we know the identity of seven (Sundowns, City, Stellenbosch, Chiefs, Royal, AmaZulu and Pirates) of the eight teams, but – aside from champions Sundowns – not their final log position. The final spot is up for grabs between Arrows and SuperSport United.
The picture at the bottom of the log, however, has been neatly wrapped up: Baroka FC finished bottom of the log and suffered direct relegation after their 1-0 loss away to Maritzburg United (the result secured by a goal from Clayton Daniels), ending a six-year stint in the top flight for the Limpopo club.
Swallows FC looked as if they would rise completely above trouble when they led 10-man Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 thanks to two penalties from Dillon Solomons, but the Amakhosi struck back at FNB Stadium through Bernard Parker to secure a 2-2 draw.
This, along with TS Galaxy’s 1-0 win away to Chippa United (secured by a late strike from Spiwe Msimango), means the Rockets are safe and the Birds will battle with GladAfrica Championship teams Pretoria University and Cape Town All Stars in the promotion/relegation playoffs.
DStv Premiership results, Saturday 21 May
Royal AM v Mamelodi Sundowns – Postponed
Marumo Gallants 2-2 Sekhukhune United
AmaZulu v Golden Arrows – Postponed
Chippa United 0-1 TS Galaxy
Kaizer Chiefs 2-2 Swallows FC
Maritzburg United 1-0 Baroka FC
Stellenbosch FC 1-0 Cape Town City