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Richards Bay Secures DStv Premiership Return With Dominant Victory

  • June 19, 2024
  • 3 min read
Richards Bay Secures DStv Premiership Return With Dominant Victory

Richards Bay secured their triumphant return to the DStv Premiership top flight with a resounding 4-0 thrashing of Baroka FC in the final match of the PSL promotion/relegation playoffs at King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday.

Somila Ntsundwana emerged as the hero of the day, bagging a brace (two goals) – one in each half – to single-handedly guarantee the club’s DStv Premiership status.

Bay’s approach was straightforward: a draw secured their return, while a win was a bonus. They entered the match tied on five points with University of Pretoria in the mine league.

However, promotion was out of AmaTuks’ hands as they had already completed their allocated four matches. Their hopes rested on Baroka pulling off an upset and winning by two clear goals.

Baroka also harbored promotion ambitions, but they needed a three-goal victory against an in-form Bay side who remained undefeated throughout the playoffs.

Adding to the drama, this was the most lucrative match in the PSL. The team retaining their status was guaranteed to earn close to R30 million next season, with potential bonuses based on their performance in the three cup competitions.

Bay displayed their unwavering determination from the start. Yanela Mbuthuma forced a strong save from Katlego Molefe early on, setting the tone for their attacking intent.

As Bay gained control of the game, their dominance paid off in the 37th minute. Ntsundwana delivered a spectacular finish after a well-placed setup from Mbuthuma.

Six minutes later, Sanele Barns, playing his final game for the club before joining Stellenbosch FC next season, saw his free kick deflect off the wall and deceive Molefe for Bay’s second goal.

With Bay comfortably in the lead, the free entrance (announced before the game to highlight the match’s importance) resulted in a packed and jubilant stadium.

Baroka attempted a comeback in the second half, enjoying a brief spell of attacking pressure. However, Bay’s resolute defense held firm.

Bay had opportunities to extend their lead further. Thulani Gumede wasted a chance to set up an unmarked Barns, and Moses Mthembu followed suit by firing wide when presented with a golden scoring opportunity.

Nevertheless, Ntsundwana ensured there would be no late drama with his second goal of the match in the 62nd minute, sliding the ball in for his third goal in the playoffs (having netted the winner against University of Pretoria in their first game at the same venue).

Lwandile Mabuya added the finishing touch in the 85th minute for the fourth, capitalizing on a saved shot from Kuda Myaba that fell kindly into his path.

Baroka, with their chairman Khurishi Mphahlele in the stands and coach Morgan Mammila brought in as a temporary replacement for the suspended Dan Malesela, will have to wait another season to achieve their promotion dreams.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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