lofty ideals

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Bay United will stage training camps in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal where they intend playing against Absa Premiership teams in their preparations for the National First Division promotion playoffs next month.

United, who are mentored by Vladislav Heric, booked a berth in the off-season event after finishing second in the Coastal Stream behind Maritzburg United.

The Team of Choice will play Inland Stream champions FC AK to determine the club that will gain automatic promotion to the top flight. Their matches will be played on a home and away basis on May 10 and 17.

The losing team will then join the runners-up from the two streams and the club that finishes 15th in the Premiership in the battle for the second promotion spot.

Senzo Mazingiza, United general manager, said the players were ready to move mountains to ensure the team succeeds in the playoffs, adding that they hoped to restore top-flight football to Port Elizabeth.

"Our mission is to bring a Premiership team back to our city after such a long time," Mazingiza said.

"The support we have been getting from people around Port Elizabeth has been overwhelming and this shows that they are thirsty for Premiership matches in their home town.

"We have decided to play against competitive opponents from the elite league to sharpen our players for the playoffs, which are not going to be easy," he said.

It has been a long time since Port Elizabeth, the home of 2010 Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan, had a Premiership club after the relegation of the once-popular Michau Warriors back in the 1996-07 season.

Warriors were axed after finishing the season in 17th place with 35 points from 34 matches.

United have quality players such as Arthur Bartman, Jonas Mavimbela, Linos Chalwe, Jimmy Zakazaka, Khayalethu Ngangqu and Joseph Segalo, who can ensure the success of the Coastal Stream club in the playoffs.

Ngangqu and Segalo have been drafted into the Safa national development team to play Mauritius next month.