Chippa champions, but NFD set for exciting finish

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Heric Vladislav, coach of Chippa United celebrates with his players during the 2014 National First Division 213/14 game between Witbank Spurs and Chippa United at the Puma Rugby Stadium.

CAPE TOWN - Chippa United may have already confirmed their return to the Absa Premiership for next season but the race for who will potentially join them remains a hot one.

No fewer than eight National First Division sides are still in the hunt for a place in the Premier Soccer League’s Promotion/Relegation playoffs and with just two slots available, it’s going down to the wire.

There are three rounds of matches still to be played over the next three weekends, with the regular season to end on May 11.

The congestion at the top of the table, behind runaway leaders Chippa, means it is anybody’s guess as to who will finish second and third and earn the right to play-off against the side placed 15th in the top-flight in a round-robin combination in which the winner will compete in the Premiership next season.

Second place is currently held by Limpopo side Black Leopards, who along with Chippa were also relegated last season and are aiming for a swift return.

They have 44 points, one more than provincial rivals Baroka FC and Cape Town upstarts Milano United.

A further point back is Jomo Cosmos, one of the famous old clubs on the domestic scene who have hit hard times of late but remain under the stewardship of owner Jomo Sono, who will hope his Midas touch returns.   

Sitting on 41 points in sixth and seventh are North West team United FC and another Cape Town club, Vasco da Gama, who competed in the top-flight in the 2010/11 season.

Santos, also from the Mother City and league champions just over a decade ago are on 40 points, while African Warriors are the outsiders on 38 points, but three wins and other results going their way could elevate them into the top three.

It makes for an exciting finish in a division that to be honest is renowned more for hustle and bustle than entertainment.

Free State side Roses United and KwaZulu-Natal-based Blackburn Rovers have already been confirmed as the two sides who will be relegated to the ABC Motsepe League for next season.