Cosmos vs Leopards hangs in the balance as court reserves judgment over Ajax application

Ezenkosi coach, Jomo Sono

This weekend’s NFD/PSL Play-off game between Jomo Cosmos and Black Leopards could be under threat after Judge Raylene Keightley reserved judgment in the urgent application by Ajax Cape Town to have the Premier Soccer League (PSL) promotion/relegation play-offs postponed.

Ajax are also seeking to have a ruling by arbiter William Mokhari SC reviewed after they were relegated to the National First Division when the points from three of their fixtures this season were forfeited.

The High Court in Cape Town did not hear the arguments in the matter before the kick-off of the first play-off between Black Leopards and Platinum Stars on Wednesday. However‚ Keightley is expected to rule by Friday whether Sunday’s clash between Jomo Cosmos and Leopards will go ahead.

But the review of Mokhari’s finding‚ which PSL counsel Martin Kriegler said the league was not opposed to‚ was likely to take in another two weeks‚ according to the judge.

Ajax‚ through advocate Norman Arendse‚ are arguing that only Fifa has the authority to rule on the matter as its regulations apply and the case involves clubs in two countries.

But the PSL and Platinum Stars‚ who are opposing the interdict‚ say a delay in the play-offs will be a logistical nightmare‚ as the matches cannot be played during the period of the World Cup, as per Fifa regulations. That would leave only a small window from mid to end-July‚ with the new season set to start on August 3‚ and the 16th side to compete in the Premiership only likely to be known days ahead of kick-off.

Mokhari ruled that the points from three of Ajax’s matches — wins against Stars and SuperSport United‚ and a draw against Polokwane City‚ be forfeited to Ajax’s opponents as the club was the third Zimbabwe striker Tendai Ndoro had played for this season‚ in contravention of Fifa regulations. That left Ajax‚ who had been second bottom‚ in last place in the league with 24 points‚ elevating Stars to the play-offs.

Meanwhile, Black Leopards put themselves in pole position after beating Platinum Stars 1-0 in Thohoyandou on Wednesday. Phathushedzo Nange’s second half strike separated the sides inside a jam-packed arena.

Source: TimesLIVE, additional reports by Mark Ogagan

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