S'Busiso Mseleku

Phew! What a week in SA football

2016-05-25 12:00
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba must be learning day by day that in life you cannot please everyone.

His announcement of the squad to face Gambia in their 2016 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, was met with questions.

The coach has been accused of favouring out of favour Bournemouth FC striker, Tokelo Rantie, whose contract was not renewed by the English Premiership club.

But when he left him out of the team he announced on Thursday, there were rumblings, with some questioning why he had left out somebody who has proved to be his top scorer.

Why, there we even those who questioned the omission of Bidvest Wits' sturdy defender, Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo from the squad without even checking that the player was injured.

Some even criticised Mashaba's acceptance that Bafana's chances of qualifying for the finals were remote if not nil, saying he should have realised that a long time ago.

Mashaba's position reminded me of a story we read as young people. I can still vividly remember the funny picture of an elderly man and a young boy carrying a donkey on a log that accompanied the story.

It was a story on wisdom.

It was about a man and his son who took a long journey. At the onset, the father led the donkey with a rope while his son rode.

They were confronted by a group of traditionalists who voiced their disgust at how young people no longer had respect for the elderly. How can a fit, young boy be perched on top of a donkey while his elderly father walked.

In response, the man asked his son to climb down while he got on top. They next came across a group of women who cried foul at how insensitive an elderly man the father was to let his poor son walk while he relaxed on top of the donkey.

To this, the man suggested that they both climb and ride on the poor donkey. 

They were soon met by a group of animal lovers who complained loudly about the cruelty of two people riding on a single donkey.

"Why can't they rather carry the donkey as there are two of them," the group protested.

It was at this juncture that they tied the donkey to a pole and carried it on their shoulders. You can imagine what snivels and giggles that drew from passersby.

Moral of the story? You cannot satisfy all people all the time.

Before the weekend, there was the dramatic case involving Jomo Cosmos who were accused of having fielded an ineligible player.

Many football supporters held their breath as Maritzburg United who were in a neck and neck race with Cosmos in a bid to avoid relegation, joined in the fray.

When Ezenkosi were found guilty by the arbitrator on Friday, but fined R200 000 with the player suspended for nine games, the stage was set for a royal battle on Saturday as the two clubs faced each other.   

Then came Saturday! Wow! What drama!

Maritzburg came back from a goal down to beat Cosmos 3-1 thus condemning them to relegation. AmaTuks beat Lamontville Golden Arrows to survive another day and gain a spot in the three-horse PSL/NFD playoffs involving Highlands Park and Mbombela United.

The overall winner of the mini-league will play in the PSL next season.

In a dram-filled day, Kaizer Chiefs lost 2-0 to Chippa United at FNB Stadium nogal. This was Amakhosi's eighth loss of a season in which they meekly relinquished their league title.

The NFD provided its own drama as right up to Sunday, Baroka FC and Highlands Park, were still in a neck and neck race for automatic promotion to the elite league.

Baroka - who earlier went as far as the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup - eventually prevailed thanks to a 1-1 draw against Milano FC despite Highlands' 4-1 thumping of AmaZulu.

The season ended with former PSL sides AmaZulu, Black Leopards and Santos populating the lower parts of the log.

The saddest story however was that of Moroka Swallows who were relegated to the ABC Motsepe League  (the fourth tier).

What a sad history for one of the oldest clubs having been found in 1947.

What a week!

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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