Debutants Southern can start planning for their next season after securing their future with a convincing 3-1 win over BC Rangers in the RedMR First Division at the Aberdeen Sports Ground yesterday.
Once considered hot favourites for relegation, the district team are now fourth in the standings with 20 points.
"Although there are three matches left, I think we have reached the safe zone by building such a large buffer against other struggling teams," said chairman Chan Man-chun. "This has been done by a concerted effort from all the players and coaching staff, as we were considered one of the weakest in the beginning of the season as a promoted team.
"We want to keep all the players for next season, and hopefully add a couple of quality strikers. We had a budget of HK$5 million in our first season in the top flight and the expenditure will probably increase by HK$1 million to improve the squad."
League leaders South China, meanwhile, saw their match against Yokohama called off after 24 minutes due to heavy downpours at Mong Kok Stadium.
The Caroliners lead rivals Kitchee by two points with one game in hand. South China are still looking for ways to strengthen the squad as they announced yesterday the signing of Taiwan international Victor Chou Zi Hsuan, 21, who was born in Spain and gained experience with two of the country's top-flight youth teams before playing in the second division with Salamanca.