Eagles' skipper Philani Cele fancies PSL promotion

09 May 2019 - 12:05
By Sihle Ndebele
Royal Eagles captain Philani Cele
Royal Eagles captain Philani Cele

While he's disappointed they couldn't win automatic promotion, Royal Eagles captain Philani Cele is positive they would play in the top-flight next season by coming out on top in the play-offs.

Eagles finished as runners up to Stellenbosch in the National First Division (NFD). The Pietermaritzburg-based club garnered 53 points, three behind the champions.

Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, who claimed the third spot, face off in the opening encounter on May 15.

They will learn the identity of the third participant - a team finishing 15th in the Premiership - when the elite league concludes its programme on Saturday.

"We wanted to win promotion straightaway, it's disappointing that we fell short by just three points,'' said Cele, who netted 10 goals in the just-concluded NFD campaign.

"Our aim now is to win the play-offs. We believe that we have big chances. Every player in the team dreams about playing in the Premiership. So this is a wonderful chance for us to realise our dreams."

The lad from KwaMashu pins his hopes in the play-offs on winning all their home games, insisting they are ready for any Premier Soccer League (PSL) team. During their league campaign, they won eight, with five draws and two defeats of their 15 league games at home.

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"The trick in the play-offs is to win all your home games. We are not hoping for any specific team, it does not matter who we face from the PSL because we are ready," noted the Eagles skipper.

Cele, who is a Kaizer Chiefs development product, has six Absa Premiership matches under his belt.

He made just one league appearance for Amakhosi in the 2013/14 season. The other appearances were with now-defunct Moroka Swallows.