Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler is delighted that they will have a shot of avoiding the chop in the promotion/relegation play-offs.
The Team of Choice escaped automatic relegation on the final day of the season, thanks to a 1-1 draw against Baroka FC, while Free State Stars were beaten 1-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns and were therefore booted down to the National First Division after finishing in last place.
“Obviously, we are very happy to have avoided automatic relegation, but we would have loved to have avoided the play-offs and with a win we could have done that,” Tinkler said.
“But it didn’t happen, we have now given ourselves a fighting chance which was my objective when I came here so, objective achieved now is three weeks of hard work against the NFD teams to ensure our safety.”
Maritzburg will face Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC in the play-offs and Tinkler knows that they need to be at their best to overcome these two sides that are determined to make a step up to the top flight.
“Playing the NFD teams will be a different ball game. You are going to have a different mindset and the fear factor I have is you start lowering your level and you can’t afford to.
“You have to maintain your professionalism and PSL standards and if you can do that, then you can beat the NFD teams. But if you go there and match their brand of football then you will come unstuck.
“Players are staying up for a month basically. Usually they will be going for their off season, but I have prepared them mentally. I made them aware that we got the potential of going to play-offs and no one must make plans for holiday and they must be prepared that they have three weeks of hard work in front of us.”