KZN clubs scrambling to avoid losing another top-flight side

PABLO Franco, AmaZulu FC head coach, has slowly and surely sneaked into the DStv Premiership relegation scramble. | BackpagePix

PABLO Franco, AmaZulu FC head coach, has slowly and surely sneaked into the DStv Premiership relegation scramble. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 10, 2024


KWAZULU-NATAL clubs in the DStv Premiership are at their wits’ end, scrambling to avoid losing another side to the dreaded drop.

Golden Arrows, Royal AM and Richards Bay suffered defeats while AmaZulu drew at home on the last matchday which confirmed the entire KZN contingent as part of the bottom six for the first time this season.

The 2023/2024 DStv Premiership campaign kicked off without Maritzburg United for the first time in 15 years which saw an impressive team KZN cohesion broken to just four.

However, this season has not panned out like many in the land of the Zulus would have liked as they now find themselves in an uncompromising position with 12 games of the season to go.

The Natal Rich Boyz are the worst-placed side of the lot as they occupy the 15th spot (a promotion/relegation play-off spot).

Bay have lost six of their last league fixtures now under both ex-coach Kaitaino Tembo and new man at the helm Vusumuzi Vilakazi.

Despite their progression to the round of 16 of the Nedbank Cup, Bay now find themselves in serious trouble with bottom-placed Cape Town Spurs breathing down their necks.

The Urban Warriors have begun 2024 with a bang and have seemingly made up the ground on their closest relegation rivals.

Next on the danger radar is the limping Royal who have laboured through the campaign having been prohibited from making any additions to their squad depth with a transfer ban.

Thwihli Thwahla might be on their way up having built a gap of nine points between them and the Natal Rich Boyz when the two met in a KZN derby two weeks ago.

However, Royal have shown negligence and naivety in their ranks for the last two seasons.

The club’s minimal progress (qualifying for CAF competitions) has been often tainted by their inability to protect on-field duty from off-field controversy.

In what is expected to be a tense last two and half months of the season, head coach John Maduka will want to grab the steering wheel just a little harder.

12th-placed Arrows have been arguably the most bizarre story of the 2023/2024, a clear case of “falling from grace” if there ever was one.

The once second-placed Abafana Bes’thende have called on the expertise of one of their former managers, Steve Komphela, as they look to end a horrific 11-game losing streak.

Not many would’ve expected that Arrows would be in the same conversation with Royal whether in the fight for the top eight or trying to secure safety given their fine start to the campaign.

The same can be said for 11th-placed AmaZulu who are yet to hit a more consistent patch in terms of performances and results.

Pablo Franco has applauded the progress he sees his side making but should remain wary of avoiding the same mistakes as his predecessor.