Mbombela United (Mpumalanga Province) and Mthatha Bucks (Eastern Cape) have gained promotion to the National First Division (NFD) after winning their groups in the 2015 SAFA/ABC Motsepe League National Playoffs currently underway in Kimberley, Northern Cape.
United and Bucks will meet in the final on Sunday, 26 July to decide the champions of the 2014/15 ABC Motsepe League – which goes with a one million rand cheque for the winners and half of that for the runners-up.
The clash will take place at the De Beers Stadium – kick-off is at 15h00.
Mbombela United defeated African All Stars (Gauteng) 3-2 in a pulsating match – a victory that earned them promotion after they finished with 10 points, three more than second-placed Glendene United who beat Milford 1-0 in another Group A clash. All Stars ended third on six points, two adrift of Roses United, while Milford exited the tournament without a point in fifth place.
Mthatha Bucks, who started the Day 5 in third place with three points, worked their socks off to see off North West Shining Stars 2-1 – finishing top of Group B with six points, a result made easy by the 3-all draw between Magesi FC and Hungry Lions. Magesi could only get to five points, one more than third-placed Lions with Shining Stars amassing just one point.
In their match, Mbombela took the lead in the 22nd minute through Inky Masuku but Thabang Makgabutlane came off the bench to cancel the lead in the 43rd minute. Shortly after the restart Lebohang Maboe put All Stars in front before Thabo Mphahleni restored parity in the 60th minute. Zolani Nkombela had the final say when he scored the winning goal in the 70th minute to secure promotion to the NFD.
At the Galeshewe Stadium, Glendene had taken an 18th minute lead through Sordick Barends, and were hoping for a result that would favour them but it was not to be. They won 1-nil against Milford but it was not enough to see them through.
Group B provided a lot of drama until the final whistle.
At De Beers Stadium six goals were scored between Magesi FC and Hungry Lions which had the fans on their feet – but in the final analysis both ended on the losing side after they earned a point each.
Magesi drew first blood in the 5th minute – a lead they held until halftime. It took 61 minutes for Lions to equalise but Magesi restored the lead in the 78th minute. Then drama unfolded in the final ten minutes with three goals scored. First Lions pulled one back to make it 2-2 in the 82nd but three minutes later Magesi pounced. There was still time for an equaliser from Lions to finish three-all.
During all this time the lead at the top of the table kept changing – but no one banked on Mthatha Bucks upsetting applecard. When news came that they had defeated North West Shining Stars 2-1 at the Galeshewe Stadium, gloom descended on the De Beers Stadium as both Magesi and Lions knew their efforts were all in vain. Both sets of players lay sprawled on the field and some sobbed uncontrollably with the realisation that they had come to the end of the road and they had nothing to show for it.