Saturday was a sad day for football followers in the Eastern Cape as the NFD saw the first of two sides relegated to the ABC Motsepe League with Mthatha Bucks dropping out of the professional ranks after three years in the NFD.
Mthatha Bucks were promoted to the NFD at the end of the 2014/15 season. After firstly winning the Eastern Cape division of the ABC Motsepe League, Bucks then went on to win Group B of the National Playoffs over Magesi FC, Hungry Lions and NW Shining Stars. Winning the group was enough to earn promotion to the NFD. Bucks then lost the final of the Playoffs to 1 – 2 Mbombela United FC.
In their first year in the NFD, 2015/16, Bucks finished 12th on the log, but creditably, ahead of sides like Vasco da Gama, Thanda Royal Zulu and Santos FC.
The following year was even better as the Eastern Cape side finished in the top half of the table and were the one only two sides to spend time at the top of the table that season. NFD champions Thanda spent a record 27 weeks at the summit of the NFD, but it was Bucks who spent the first three weeks at the top of the log after wins over Stellenbosch FC and Witbank Spurs & a draw with Amazulu.
2017/18 also provided a bright start to the season for Mthatha Bucks as they challenged the top half of the table for the first 9 weeks, climbing as high as 3rd three times in the opening two months. The following 19 matches though provided only one win and a fall from 5th to 16 in the matter of two months. With the exception of the opening week of 2018, Bucks spent the entire year in the relegation zone with 9 of those weeks being at the bottom of the log.
One hopes to see this heavily supported club back on its feet very quickly.