Play-off permutations: Advantage Leopards

The National First Division runners-up Black Leopards, third-placed Jomo Cosmos and the Absa Premiership’s 15th-placed club Platinum Stars have been battling it out in their mini play-off league, each trying to make the most of the last lifeline given to them to play among the country’s elite next season.

After four matches played, Lidoda Duvha hold the advantage, sitting three points ahead of both their rivals as they eye a return to the top-flight for the first time in five years:

Team                     Played                  Goal Difference               Points

Black Leopards     3                           +1                                   5
Jomo Cosmos       2                            0                                     2
Platinum Stars      3                            -1                                    2

Remaining fixtures:

30/05: Black Leopards vs Jomo Cosmos
02/06: Jomo Cosmos vs Platinum Stars

As with various tournaments and qualifying campaigns involving South Africa, the calculators will once again be pulled out ahead of the final two fixtures, with all three teams still mathematically in with a chance to top the table.

All can be put to bed by Wednesday evening if Leopards grab all three points in their last fixture against Cosmos, which would give them eight points in total and an unassailable lead at the summit of the table.

A draw on Wednesday afternoon would automatically relegate Stars, and leave Cosmos needing to beat Dikwena by two goals or more in their last game to draw level with Leopards, but be promoted on superior goal difference.

Should Cosmos beat Leopards this afternoon, they would draw level with their NFD rivals on five points, and require just a draw against Stars on the weekend to secure promotion.

The only way Dikwena can be saved is if Cosmos beat Leopards, and Stars themselves overcome Cosmos by two goals or more on Saturday, leaving all teams level on five points, with Roger de Sa’s charges sitting on a superior goal difference which will see them live another day in the top-flight.

There’s definitely plenty to play for over the next 180 minutes of the final two games of the 2017/18 campaign …