Chippa, Thanda to battle for promotion
Petrus Ngebo of Chippa United
The Philippi-based side qualified for the play-offs as runners-up in the National First Division, finishing four points behind champions University of Pretoria.
Their participation in the playoffs was momentarily delayed due to a boardroom dispute, but coach Roger Sikhakhane says they are ready to get their campaign underway.
“There were psychological effects for us to deal with (as Chippa awaited confirmation of their place in the play-offs), but the break also allowed us to prepare well,” said Sikhakhane.
“There were players with injuries, and players that were tired after we played four games in 10 days at the end of last season. Now we are ready, we are more than ready.
“The players are up for these play-offs. They see themselves in the PSL which would be a fantastic achievement for this young club.
“But we first have to win our matches, starting with Thanda. We will respect Thanda and not underestimate them.”
Chippa spent most of the season outside the top three, but a strong finish saw them sneaking ahead of both Thanda Royal Zulu and Blackburn Rovers, who ended up missing out on the playoffs.
While they have deadly attackers in Petros Ngebo and Joshua Sauls, Chippa can also count on the likes of Roscoe Pietersen to keep things tight at the back.
Thanda Royal Zulu, on the other hand, will be hoping that their forwards Peter Nwadike and Mpho Sitayitayi will be firing on all cylinders after they failed to find the back of the net in their first playoff clash.
AmaBhubesi started their campaign with a 1-0 loss to Santos in Richards Bay and will be anxious to get some points on the board to keep their chances of gaining promotion to the Absa Premiership alive.
When the two sides met during the regular season, Thanda won 2-1 at home before Chippa thrashed them 3-0 in Cape Town.