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11 Jul 2008 10:02
Bay United and FC AK will trot out at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth knowing that this second-round play-off of the national first division could mean the difference between earning R12-million and R3,6-milion a season.
The winners of Sunday’s clash will play in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) while the losers will have to spend another season in the Cinderella league of the professional game.
Teams in the first division receive a monthly grant of R300 000, while PSL sides receive a monthly grant of R1-million.
But before the clubs start crunching the numbers, Bay United will have to ensure that they keep a clean sheet because the away-goal rule is in effect in these play-offs.
Both sides failed to produce any clear chances in the first leg in Eldorado Park on Wednesday.
FC AK, on the other hand, have been visited by crisis at the worst possible time.
The Eldorado Park side have been on the cusp of big things before. Last season they made it to the play-offs but lost to AmaZulu in the finals.
FC AK almost did not make it this far after team and owner were convicted of match-fixing and relegated to the third tier of football. They were reinstated after a successful appeal, which also saw the boss’s ban from all football-related activities reduced from 30 to 10 years.
A win for Bay United—owned by former technocrat turned businessperson Sipho Pityana—will return top-flight football to the Friendly City for the first time since Michau Warriors were relegated in the 1996/97 season.
The Eastern Cape last had a premiership side when Mtata Bush Bucks were relegated at the end of the 2003/04 season.
On the strength of what was on display on Wednesday, the two clubs will have to beef up their performance considerably if they are to ensure that their stay in the PSL is not fleeting.
Read more from Zodidi Mhlana
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