Relegation to the National First Division would be an inconceivable notion says long-time club servant Musa Otieno.
|Musa Otieno © Backpagepix
Santos must win the ‘Super Saturday Play-Off Final’ against Chippa United at the Philippi Stadium in order to avoid the dreaded drop. A draw would see NFD rookies Chippa gaining promotion at the first time of asking.
Otieno has been with the Peoples’ Team for around 15 years and alongside fellow legends such as Jean Marc Ithier, Edries Burton, Andre Arendse, Vincent Sokela and Sebastian Bax was part of the side that enjoyed immense success at the turn of the century, including the winning of the league title in 2001/ 2002.
Past glories and honours lists will however count for nothing in the heart of the Cape Flats on Saturday – it will be about which side wants it more, which set of players are willing to push themselves beyond their usual boundaries.
Or perhaps the game will be determined by an individual piece of brilliance or a lapse in concentration, or simply by luck, and as some would have believe, fate.
These days Otieno is employed as part of the Santos technical team, working alongside Duncan Crowie in assisting head coach Mart Nooij.
The affable Kenyan concedes that the team is going to have to play the game of their lives to ensure there are celebrations rather than tears come Saturday 5pm when the final whistle blows, potentially signalling a new chapter the two Cape side’s histories.
“it’s a very difficult match, there is an incredible amount at stake. The damage has already been done in terms of why we find ourselves in this position. But the positive is that we still have destiny in our own hands, there is still something we can do about our fate.
“Saturday is like a cup final for us, and we have to be champions. We simply have to win this game, we have to fight the future of the club, for the future of our families,” he told PSL.co.za.
Otieno says that there have been no special preparations in the week ahead of the clash – the players being acutely all too aware of what is on the line.
“The boys know what they are playing for, there was no need to put extra pressure on their shoulders. We all know this is a must-win game and that finishing second is not an option.
“Santos are too good to be playing in the First Division. We are a PSL club and need to fight with everything we have to stay in this league. Our players are good enough to win this match, we have the experience and our performance levels are there, we just need to make sure we deliver on the day.”