S'Busiso Mseleku

Amazing what a difference 180 minutes of football can make!

2016-12-23 11:46
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

In Bill Shankly’s overly quoted and misquoted opinion, those who think football is a matter of life and death, are wrong.

“It’s much, much more than that,” opined Liverpool’s greatest manager ever.

And I don’t think there is anyone to whom this quote is more relevant right now more than Steve Komphela, the Kaizer Chiefs coach.

Just a week ago, he had to be protected from a bunch of crazy Amakhosi supporters - not for the first time this season - as his charges stuttered once more.

But two games later, a hard-fought home win over Polokwane City and a 2-0 away victory at Lamontville Golden Arrows, not only is he sitting pretty in the hot seat, but his club will finish the year in fourth position, just a single point behind the three above them, SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City.

That’s football for you!

Telkom Knockout runners-up SuperSport United sit on top with 25 points, the same number as Wits and Telkom Knockout winners, Cape Town City FC, while Chiefs are on 24.

And as football always throws these twists, Chiefs and their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates were just one position apart on the log - seventh and eighth - before the last two matches of this calendar year.

However, two matches later - need I point out that is just 180 minutes of football - while Chiefs went on an upward trajectory, Pirates spiraled downwards in the opposite direction.

The Buccaneers now sit in ninth position with 18 points from 13 matches, just a single spot and two points above Mamelodi Sundowns who have played a mere eight games.

Methinks while some coaches will welcome and enjoy the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) induced long break (the PSL programme will only resume in February), chances are Komphela will be thinking it couldn’t have come at a worse time for him.

The coach would be wary that his charges might lose the rhythm they seem to have gained of late.

But he can rest assured that his job is secure, at least for now.

But not so for the six coaches whose sides occupy positions 11 to 16 - and last - on the table.

Kgoloko Thobejane’s Baroka FC has found the going very tough in the elite league after cruising through the National First Division (NFD) to gain automatic promotion as champions. They have only managed 12 points from 14 matches.

The picture is also not so rosy for Highlands Park, another side promoted from the NFD. Not even roping in four-time league championship-winning coach Gordon Igesund seems to have worked as the club sits 15th on the 16-team log having only managed to grab 13 points from 15 matches.

Free State Stars, who were on the verge of being sold at the end of last season, are still languishing on the lower rungs of the table and the future of their French mentor Denis Lavagne seems to be hanging by a thread.

Platinum Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United are also not safe as they sit precariously just above the drop zone.

This means Cavin Johnson, former players Lehlohonolo Seema and John Maduka at Celtic and Dan Malesela who was at one stage cruising with Chippa, are not very happy chappies this Christmas.

We wish all readers of this column and the entire football fraternity a Merry Christmas.

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 over 30 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:    kaizer chiefs  |  psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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