Stakes high in PSL play-offs 'final'
SATURDAY the Philippi stadium will provide the venue for the most important game in the short history of Chippa United, who host Santos in the final match of the Premier League promotion play-offs.
It's Chippa who hold the aces after their 3-0 win over Thanda Royal Zulu on Wednesday.
The Chilli Boys are on five points, while Santos have four, meaning a draw will be enough to see Chippa through to the promised land of the Absa Premiership.
The stakes are high. Clubs in the top flight receive a R1-million monthly grant from the league, while National First Division clubs get only R200000.
World-class venues such as Soccer City, the Moses Mabhida and the Cape Town stadiums await those in the Absa Premiership, while First Division sides are relegated to the obscurity of Kwanyamazane, Charles Mopeli and NNK rugby grounds.
Chippa have been in existence for less than three years and last season's campaign in the First Division was their first, having gained promotion from the Vodacom League the previous season. As far as soccer dynamics in the Mother City are concerned, Chippa United, a club from the heart of the townships, is what Cape Town needs. There is overwhelming evidence of a passionate following.
For most football supporters in the Cape, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are the teams of choice rather than Ajax or Santos. Promotion for Chippa could go a long way towards changing this.
For Santos, league champions in 2001-2002, relegation is an unthinkable yet very real possibility. The club has a large infrastructure, including a substantial youth academy. Retaining these structures in the First Division would be a difficult task and there is a possibility that jobs could be on the line should the team go down.
Stars like Erwin Isaacs, Eleazar Rodgers, Wayne Arendse and Salmaan King could also be lured from the club. For the People's Team, tomorrow could be a fateful day in their 30-year history.