National First Division promotion and relegation permutations

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Thanda are just three points away from confirming their return to the Absa Premiership next season, with their next fixture against second-placed Stellenbosch at the Umhlathuze Sports Complex this afternoon.

Having lost just once all season, Amabhubesi have opened a 10-point gap at the top with just four games remaining, and now need only to get past Stellenbosch to secure their automatic promotion.

Since they were relegated from the top flight at the end of the 2008/09 season, via the play-offs, Thanda have twice come close to returning but only to get stuck in the play-offs, while last season they also flirted with relegation.

A strong start to the season laid the foundation for Roger Sikhakhane's side that has left them just about guaranteed of returning to the PSL in a season in which the former Chippa United mentor has been a mastermind on the bench.

On the contrary, 2001/02 PSL champions Santos are a ship sinking further into the mud.

The People’s Team will be relegated on Wednesday if Magesi overcome Cape Town All Stars at home, and they fail to beat Jomo Cosmos.

Such has been the fall from grace for them that they have only won three times in 26 games, and are rooted to the bottom of the NFD standings with just 18 points.

With four games remaining, it is looking unlikely that they will move from the drop zone as they are eight points adrift of the safety spot, currently occupied by city rivals FC Cape Town, with four of the bottom five teams all from the Mother City.

To stage a miraculous escape, Santos must win against Jomo Cosmos, AmaZulu, Witbank Spurs and Stellenbosch FC and hope that the other relegation threatened clubs consistently drop points in all their remaining games.

A highly unlikely if not totally impossible ask for a team that has scored just 14 goals in 26 games.  

Santos spent 14 years in the premier division, winning the league, BP Top 8, Bob Save Super Bowl and ABSA Cup before being relegated five years ago.

They now stand in line to follow another former PSL club Moroka Swallows, who have sunk to the fourth tier league next season after being relegated three years in a row.