Pretoria University (Tuks) were crowned champions of the National First Division and they have gained an automatic promotion to the PSL, replacing Jomo Cosmos, who ended last.
The two NFD teams will be second placed Chippa United and Thanda Royal Zulu who squeaked into third when they beat Tuks on the last day.
The full draw with fixture dates is as follows: 23 May 2012 – Thanda Royal Zulu vs Santos : 2pm
27 May 2012 – Chippa United vs Thanda Royal Zulu
30 May 2012 – Santos vs Chippa United
17 June 2012 – Santos vs Thanda Royal Zulu
20 June 2012 – Thanda Royal Zulu vs Chippa United
23 June 2012 – Chippa United vs Santos
The round robin with each team playing four matches is a fairly lengthy exercise that only ends on June 23. The under-23 rule, where a NFD club must start at least 5 South African juniours will not apply.
NFD teams are going to battle and will be punching above their weight limits as firstly their squads are compiled around the under-23 rule where some 40-50 percent of the squad is made up by youngsters.
Another rule against NFD teams is the foreigner ruling where they are allowed a maximum of two as opposed to the PSL ruling of five foreigners.
We really do hope that a club from the NFD gets promoted, however will also support a fairer system.
West Ham who won their version of play-offs, were crowned last week and will have an equal amount of time to rest and plan for their next season.
NFD teams, especially those in the play-offs will have limited time to settle and to negotiate and build a solid squad for the next season. It’s a big leap to the Premiership where clubs pay their players more and also secure them for longer contracts.
It’s a lottery in the NFD where the income streams are far less and players are generally on lesser deals.