Enterprising Namibian international striker Peter Shalulile on Saturday delivered a glistening performance as he inspired his South African club Highlands Park FC to a resounding 5-1 win over a hapless University of Pretoria (AmaTuks), a victory that sealed Highlands Park’s automatic return to the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Shalulile scored one of the five goals that saw The Lions of the North, as Highlands are known, overpower the University of Pretoria by 5-1 to become the National First Division (NFD) champions on Saturday at Makhulong Stadium in Gauteng, South Africa.
Goals from Shalulile, Sphiwe Mahlangu, Lindokuhle Mbatha and a decisive brace by Vukile Mngqibisa ensured Highlands’ immediate return to South Africa’s top-flight league, the PSL. Chemon Petersen scored the only goal for the University of Pretoria.
Their goal has been accomplished as the club gained automatic promotion to the elite league with four games to spare – a rare occurrence in the NFD.
The appointment of Owen Da Gama as the head coach and Allan Freese as his assistant seems to be one of the best decisions made by the Highlands management. The duo have not lost a league match since their arrival in September.
Their stint managed to surpass the now defunct Thanda Royal Zulu’s record of 19 unbeaten games – they have now gone 21 games without recording a defeat.
Highlands dominated most of Saturday’s game – as they did with the league campaign this season. They were not going to be denied the opportunity to wrap it up at home, and they did so in style.
With Highlands winning automatic promotion, playoff spots and relegation battles will now take centre stage. The remaining games should be interesting at the top and bottom. Any slip-up will mean dropping places on the table, and no one can afford to do that.
Black Leopards, Real Kings, Jomo Cosmos, Witbank Spurs, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and Cape Town All Stars are in contention for the second and third spots, where they will contend with the 15th-placed Absa Premiership club in the playoffs. – Additional reporting: www.timeslive.co.za