Polokwane — THE thrilling days of unfancied Baroka FC leading the Absa Premiership table are now a distant memory with the side even losing grip of their berth in the top eight.
Baroka's latest setback in a campaign that promised so much but delivered little is an agonising 2-0 defeat at the hands of surprise package Maritzburg United at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane this past weekend.
Bakgaga as the Limpopo based side is affectionately called, have faded spectacularly in yet another season characterised by instability.
Their second stint in the premiership has worsened after head coach, the animated Kgokolo Thobejane was expelled alongside captain Olaleng Shaku and world famous goalkeeper Oscarine Masulukefor for allegedly drinking alcohol in the team bus after returning from a match in which they lost 0-2 to Free State Stars.
Kit manager Delbert Lekoana and assistant goalkeeper trainer Tshegofatso Machene were also expelled.
Baroka have since been on a freefall with the appointment of McDonald Makhubedu as caretaker coach failing to address the decline.
They are ninth on the 16-team log table after the setback against Maritzburg United.
While the focus has been at the top of the table where the title has turned into a two-horse race between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, there were mixed fortunes for the league's crisis-torn sides this past weekend.
Kaizer Chiefs, pelted by missiles by their own fans at the FNB Stadium last week, bounced back at the same venue at the expense of bottom-placed Platinum Stars.
Amakhosi's narrow 1-0 victory leaves Platinum Stars in danger of relegation.
Second-from-bottom Ajax Cape Town managed a late point in a 1 - 1 draw against Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Supersport United remain in danger following a goalless draw away to Cape Town City.
Free State Stars drew 1 - 1 with Bloemfontein Celtic in the Free State derby at Goble Park Stadium.
Elsewhere, Sundowns maintained their title charge with a 2-0 victory over outgoing champions Bidvest Wits at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
First half efforts by Themba Zwane and former Wits midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi secured three points.
Pirates kept the title race alive with a come-from-behind 2-1 win away to AmaZulu in Durban.