S'Busiso Mseleku

Tight battle - for second spot

2014-12-12 08:40
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

An interesting scenario is developing in the race for the Absa Premiership title. Well, that is if one can still call it a race as at the moment Kaizer Chiefs seem to be running away with it, note the emphasis on "at the moment".

The interesting scenario is with the chasing pack.

Take this past week. Mamelodi Sundowns started the week placed second. The Brazilians must have started licking their lips when Amakhosi were held to a 2-all draw by Platinum Stars "at home" - Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Stadium - in the first match of the week, on Tuesday night.

Orlando Pirates, who lost 2-0 in the Soweto Derby last Saturday, must have also thought this was an opportunity for them to narrow the gap between them and their arch-rivals.

But a goalless draw between the two giants - Sundowns and Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night - plus a Bidvest Wits 4-2 victory over Ajax Cape Town, saw yet another game of musical chairs on the log standings.

Wits leapfrogged Sundowns into second on the table, but they are still a good 11 points adrift of the red-hot Chiefs.

Sundowns dropped a notch to third while Pirates are now languishing in ninth position, a good 18 points off Amakhosi's pace.

What has been interesting this season, is that while Chiefs have continued to do their business diligently - let alone that they have so far dropped eight points, thanks to four draws - the chasing pack has been hell-bent on upsetting each other.

Their race resembles that of a cast of crabs trying to get out of a bucket where they pull each other down.

As a result, the second position has been swapped almost weekly between the likes of Ajax, Sundowns and Wits.

Why, even the likes of Chippa United, Maritzburg United and Mpumalanga Black Aces have been on the frame.

With three rounds of matches - this weekend, midweek and next weekend before Christmas and the more-than-month-long Africa Cup of Nations-induced break in January - it will be interesting how the log will look at the end of the year.

Just this weekend, we have among the matches, Chiefs playing Chippa, Pirates fighting it out with Ajax (remember Roger de Sa was a Pirates coach before and Tinkler who is now in charge was his assistant) and Sundowns play neighbours Pretoria University, AmaTuks.

Tuesday sees Sundowns visit the tricky Maritzburg while the following day Pirates will be involved in the original Soweto Derby against Moroka Swallows and Wits visit Gordon Igesund-coached SuperSport United.

Chiefs will wrap up the year against Aces - who caused their title hopes great harm last season, on Saturday, while on the same day Sundowns will visit Ajax and Pirates close the year with Bloemfontein Celtic.

These are all mouth-watering fixtures that will have a huge bearing on how the log looks come December 31.

I can tell you now without any fear of contradiction that however it looks, it will make for an interesting home straight from February 10 to May.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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.

Read more on:    psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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