Free State Stars have been relegated from the Premier Soccer League following their 1-0 defeat to Mamelodi Subdowns on Saturday afternoon.
Ea Lla Koto needed to at least get a point against the Brazilians to qualify for the promotion/relegation play-offs, but Pitso Mosimane’s men were just too strong on the day.
The Bethlehem-based side spent the better part of the 2018/19 season battling in the bottom half of the table.
Coach Nikola Kavazovic had already given up on beating relegation after saying that he was already preparing for the play-offs, but his team wasn’t able to achieve this goal.
This is the second time that Ea Lla Koto will be playing in the National First Division since the inception of the PSL in 1996.
In the 2005/06 season, Stars were relegated to the NFD after finishing 16th on the PSL standings.
They bounced back two seasons later after gaining promotion from the NFD and finished fifth upon their return to top-flight.
Meanwhile, Maritzburg United survived automatic relegation on the final day after drawing 1-1 away to BarokaFC.
This means they still have an opportunity to save their top-flight status against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) and Royal Eagles.
The promotion/relegation play-offs will kick-off on Wednesday, May 15 2019 with the last fixture pencilled June 1.
With Ajax Cape Town having taken the matter involving TTM to court, it’s unclear if the play-offs will go ahead as planned.