So who will win the PSL title?
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
I will admit straight away to cheating a little. I’ve taken a sneak peak at the first week of Premier Soccer Laue action before attempting the folly of forecasting a few of the potential outcomes in the coming season.
It did not help. I am now thoroughly uncertain after a series of surprise results and even more unexpected performances at the weekend.
I waited to watch Mamelodi Sundowns’ game on Sunday afternoon against AmaZulu to get a decent glimpse at their supposed potential. On paper, with their multi-million Rand squad, the ‘Brazilians’ must always be considered contenders. But they are again displaying the inconsistency that cost them so dearly last season.
Under a new coach, one who was a star exponent of ‘total football’ in his playing days and more recently has sat at the forefront of recent world trends, Sundowns were expected to display a craft and guile befitting their budget.
They showed anything but, in Johan Neeskens’ opening league match. Sundowns’ failure to score in open play for two successive games now suggests another campaign of strife and turmoil.
The quality in their camp is there, but they certainly have not hit the ground running.
The same can be said of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, even if they both won at the weekend. Both had success against the newly promoted teams but were far from convincing.
For Chiefs, it is the same old problem of finishing. They should have buried Jomo Cosmos under an avalanche of goals, yet only snatched the winner in the dying stages for a 2-1 triumph
Pirates looked too cocky against Black Leopards, losing concentration after dominating early and over elaborating in possession. They were deserved of their 2-0 win but there were enough foibles to suggest they will have some, potentially crucial, lapses this season.
So who will win the title? Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United have good squads and, on paper again, must be in the mix along with the trio of usual suspects. But both Ajax and SuperSport have already been badly exposed over the last fortnight.
I see no clear favourite but am going to plum for Pirates.
Last week, I had Platinum Stars and Jomo Cosmos are my two tips for relegation. Now, I reckon Black Leopards, Maritzburg United and Santos will all battle too.
Top scorer? Bongani Ndulula of Pirates
Best keeper? Itumeleng Khune (again). He was robbed of the Goalkeeper of the Season award this past campaign
Best player? Andile Jali
Coach most likely to keep his job? Jomo Sono!
This season will tax teams with a relentless programme of matches because of the long, enforced break midway through the campaign for the African Nations Cup finals.
Clubs like Bloemfontein Celtic and BidVest Wits might shine early on but, as has happened in recent years, will likely fade away in the second half of the season.
The league will break from just before Christmas to end February because of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Bafana Bafana are in the verge of qualifying and my last prediction is that the national will do well at the 2012 finals. They could even win the tournament.
Currently African football has a paucity of good sides. Nigeria are rubbish, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt are ageing and Tunisia no longer a force. The new pretenders are Morocco, Senegal and South Africa – from these three will come the next African champions.Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.Disclaimer:
Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse
views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their
own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.