IT is pedal to the metal for Nelson Mandela Bay soccer teams Bay Stars and Highbury as they start the second half of the Safa Eastern Cape Second Division this weekend.
Stars are battling it out for a place in the championship playoff at the end of the season as they bid for a spot in the National First Division next season.
They finished in fourth position last season after the team was launched in 2010, shattering their three-year plan of playing in the PSL, while Highbury ended in the bottom half of the log.
Unbeaten Stars have kept their hopes of playing in the PSL alive as they are fourth on the log with 27 points from 11 games, following eight wins and three draws. They have two games in hand.
Highbury are second from the bottom on the log with four points from 13 games, and have not registered a single victory.
Stars team manager Nicholas Myataza said the second round of the season would be a do-or-die battle for all 16 teams. "We still maintain our mission of reaching the promotional playoff this season.
"The players are aware that this is the most crucial stage of the league and all the teams will be out to collect maximum points. We won't take any opposition team for granted."
Myataza said finishing in the top four last season was a stepping stone to the league playoff.
"We are determined and hungry to be the home- based team playing in the PSL since we don't have a Premiership team in Port Elizabeth. We urge the people of Port Elizabeth to support Bay Stars in our quest to bring high-flying football to the city."
He said they were happy with their position in the league considering they still had two games in hand. He was confident the team would reach the playoff at the end of the season.
Highbury coach Garth Dickinson said the top spot in the league was out of reach for them.
"We've lost too many games in the first round but the team is playing better football lately and I'm happy to say that the players are in better shape as we look to finish in the top five."
He said the players were working hard to move away from the relegation zone.