May 16 D-Day in relegation battle
MAY 16 is D-Day for the virtually doomed Jomo Cosmos and relegation-threatened Black Leopards and Santos.
Although that is the date for a crunch match between Cosmos and Leopards at Sinaba Stadium, 15th-placed Santos could also learn their fate on the night.
As it stands, Ezenkosi are the team at the bottom of the log and look most likely to be automatically relegated, with the side above them going into the promotional play-offs with two other teams in the First Division.
Leopards salvaged a draw on Tuesday night against Bidvest Wits - who secured their status in the Premier League with that result - to stay two points clear of Santos. However, the Limpopo team are still a long way from safety and would dread a return to the lower division following their promotion this season. Losing coach Vladislav Heric this week has increased the pressure on the players.
Leopards will not be in action this weekend because of Lidoda Duvha's CAF Confederation Cup commitments. They host Nigerian side Warri Wolves at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday.
This will give Santos a chance to claim 14th spot if they beat AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium but they will have played a game more than Leopards and Cosmos.
Santos have enjoyed longevity - 14 years - in the Premier League, even winning the title under Gordon Igesund in 2002, while Leopards and Cosmos have been bouncing in and out of top-flight football.
Ezenkosi will allow women and children free entry to their last two home games in a gesture of thanks for their fans' support over the season.
Jomo Sono, the Ezenkosi coach, has been defiant, warning that his team can still survive the chop. But even Houdini would be in a pickle trying to squeeze out of the tight relegation corner Cosmos find themselves in.
To add to Ezenkosi's woes, they travel to Athlone Stadium on the last day of the season and will need all three points in that fixture against Santos, especially if they drop some along the way. The priority for now is to avoid defeat against a resurgent Maritzburg United outfit on Saturday.