With the PSL season done and dusted - save for the
player awards - focus now shifts to
coaches and the ever controversial National First Division (NFD) playoffs.
The top question on coaching or coaches, is whether
Orlando Pirates will offer Eric Tinkler a permanent contract (Please note,
permanent is used cautiously here).
The next is whether the championship-winning Stuart
Baxter will stay at Kaizer Chiefs.
And so the list goes on ...
Club chairperson, Irvin "The Iron Duke" Khoza,
gave Tinkler the job until the end of
the season after the departure of Roger de Sa who has not done badly at Ajax
Cape Town, guiding them to fifth position.
Now the jury is out on Tinkler.
There are those who feel he should be given the job
permanently - more especially his colleagues in the coaching fraternity,
including De Sa - but I still have to hear a Pirates fan who agrees.
Most feel he is not ready to handle the pressures that
comes with the pressure-cooker job permanently. One thing that could count
against him, is his failure to win the games that matter the most as the club
finished the season on fourth position and did not do very well in the Nedbank
Cup as well.
But, they are still in the CAF (Confederation of
African Football) Confederations Cup where they are South Africa's sole
representatives after Chiefs and league runners up Mamelodi Sundowns bombed out
of the Champions League.
Pirates' failure to get second position or win the
Nedbank Cup, means they will only have domestic football to concentrate on next
season. Maybe this could be a blessing in disguise for the club that won back
to back trebles about three seasons ago.
It might also provide Tinkler with an opportune time
to prove his worth. Who knows, maybe given a chance, he might even win the
league? All agree that The Buccaneers are currently playing a very attractive
brand of football.
Coming to Baxter. There has been a lot of speculation
that he will leave Chiefs. There are whispers that he and the South African
Football Association (SAFA) are still interested in a partnership that will see
him become the Technical Director.
There has also been indications that there are a
number of overseas clubs after the Englishman's signature. While the wisest
thing to do for Chiefs, would be to retain the man who brought not only the
league title but the MTN8 Cup as well, this might prove a mammoth task.
For other coaches, it is going to be the usual touch
and go that comes at this time of the season when the work they have done comes
It remains to be seen if the relegated AmaZulu will
stay with Steve Barker who did everything in his power to try and save them
from the chop but honestly, he was brought in too late when the damage was
Craig Roslee who ironically got AmaZulu into the
quagmire they are in, lives to fight another day as his Moroka Swallows
finished 15th, a position that throws them into the NFD Playoffs. Which brings
me to my next question.
Does South Africa need these playoffs? Methinks not.
It is very unfair to give a club that finishes 15th in
the Absa Premiership a chance to fight to retain their status at the expense of
the club that finishes second in the NFD.
It is also unjust to give a club that finishes third
on the NFD a chance to gain promotion
ahead of the one that finishes second.
The system should be that the clubs that finish 16th
and 15th in the PSL go down to the NFD with the number one and two from the
lower league gaining automatic promotion.
If the PSL wishes or finds it necessary to continue
with this circus, maybe they should think of then going with the above and let
the Premiership's number 14 fight it out with the third-placed NFD team.
But in its current format, the system is quite flawed
and completely unfair.
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.
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