Mpumalanga Black Aces relegation from the Absa Premiership may be confirmed, but when they take on Maritzburg United at the Puma Rugby Stadium on Sunday afternoon they will be playing for pride, kick-off at 15:00pm.
|Thabang Rooi © Backpagepix
According to their central defender, Thabang Rooi, they will go down kicking and screaming, “We may be relegated but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to fight for the points. We want to give our fans something to cheer for and we are also playing for the club’s pride.”
Aces relegation was confirmed in their last league match when they were beaten 2-0 by Kaizer Chiefs, but more recently they beat AmaZulu 3-2 in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.
Rooi confirms that the victory in the Nedbank Cup has given them some confidence, “We may be relegated, but we showed our character in our next match with a win over AmaZulu in the Cup. That win is proof we can still play well and we are looking to repeat the performance against Maritzburg.”
The Aces defender knows the game against United will not be an easy one because they are fighting for their lives, “Maritzburg are in danger of finishing in the relegation play-off spot and because of that we know they will come flying at us, but we are ready for them.”
The Team of Choice will indeed be looking to keep themselves above the relegation playoff spot on Sunday afternoon as they are just one place and one point above Moroka Swallows, who presently occupy the relegation playoff position (15th).
From the United camp, Derrick Spencer knows nothing but victory will suffice against Aces, “If we lose to Aces we could be overtaken by Moroka Swallows and we can’t let that happen. We have worked too hard this season and we won’t let that happen.”
Maritzburg’s last league match saw them play to a 1-1 draw at home to Bidvest Wits, but it was a game Spencer thought they should have won, “We didn’t take our chances in that game, but we can’t let that happen against Aces. Still, we have to be careful against Aces because we know they have nothing to lose and that makes them very dangerous.”
In head-to-head stats, Aces and Maritzburg have met in just three previous league matches. Thus far, all the matches between the two teams have ended 1-0 in favour of the home side. The teams’ league match earlier this season in Pietermaritzburg saw the home team win 1-0 thanks to a Diyo Sibisi goal.