South African Premiership play-offs: Richards Bay retains status

Richards Bay FC celebrated a convincing 4-0 victory over Baroka FC at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Wednesday, securing their place in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) for another season.

The win cemented their position at the top of a three-team playoff mini-league, which also included Baroka and Pretoria University from the second-tier Motsepe Foundation Championship. 

Entering the final match, Richards Bay only needed a draw to guarantee their Premiership status, but they dominated the encounter, claiming all three points with a dominant display.

Baroka, who required a win by at least a two-goal margin to clinch promotion back to the top flight, started brightly but squandered an early opportunity. 

Their hopes were dashed further when Richards Bay capitalized on their defensive lapses, scoring twice before halftime. Somila Ntsundwana opened the scoring in the 36th minute, followed by a goal from Sanele Barns, who was making his final appearance for Richards Bay before joining fellow PSL side Stellenbosch.

Ntsundwana stole the show in the second half with a spectacular solo effort, dribbling past several defenders and firing the ball past Baroka goalkeeper Katlego Molefe in the 62nd minute. Lwandile Mabuya added the finishing touch five minutes from time, securing a resounding win for Richards Bay.

This victory ensures Richards Bay’s financial stability for the upcoming season. Premiership clubs receive a significantly higher monthly grant compared to their second-tier counterparts, along with the opportunity to compete in three knockout competitions. The financial windfall and prestige of playing in the top division will be a welcome boost for Richards Bay as they gear up for another season in the PSL.

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