S'Busiso Mseleku

Why we love football so much

2016-11-04 08:26
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

The dramatic events of the past week on the local football scene are what make the game the Opium of the masses.

Chances are that Orlando Pirates fans were among the happiest South Africans a mere two months ago.

This fitted their tag “Happy People”.

They had a highly regarded coach in Muhsin Ertugral, who was roped in by wily chairperson, the Iron Duke of SA football, Irvin Khoza.

To prove his worth, the Turk steered the Buccaneers to a 3-1 opening fixture victory over a hapless Lamontville Golden Arrows at the Crossbone and Skull’s spiritual home, Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, August 24.

It sent the Bucs faithful into delirium and dizzy heights of joy. What made this victory taste even sweeter was the fact that arch-rivals, Kaizer Chiefs, had suffered a humiliating 2-1 drubbing by Bidvest Wits in their opening fixture of the season, just the previous night.

For good measure, Pirates went on to collect a further three points via a 2-1 away victory over Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium the following week.

Fast forward to Tuesday this week and the wheels came off in one of the worst 45 minutes for Pirates in their 79-years of existence.

They were dismantled by SuperSport United after leading 1-0 at the break, only to end up losing the match 6-1 which prompted Ertugral to resign.

And where is Steve Komphela? His Chiefs are sitting fourth in the league having been at the top for two weeks before their goalless draw against Rookies Baroka FC, giving Wits - 1-0 victors over Chippa United - a chance to sit atop the log.

While Komphela might be smiling, the jury is still not out on him as there are still those who are not convinced that the club has hit the perfect note expected of giants of Amakhosi’s calibre.

Ertugral might draw some consolation from the fact that he was not the first coach to part ways with his employers this season. He became the fifth after Denis Lavagne who was the first mentor to get the proverbial boot from his employers at Free State Stars, he was followed by Roger De Sa (Ajax Cape Town), then came Allan Frees (Highlands Park), followed by Serame Letsoaka (Bloenfontein Celtic).

And as it happens every season, the question is: Who is next?

Given that this is the Telkom Knockout weekend, there are no guarantees that we will emerge on the other side with all the remaining coaches sitting pretty in their jobs.

Kgologo Thobejane will lead his Baroka FC against an Eric Tinkler-led Cape Town City at Peter Mokaba Stadium in the first game on Saturday.

Then Pitso Mosimane, who has had mixed fortunes since winning the CAF Champions League, will have his side face neighbours SuperSport United in the first of the last eight matches on Saturday, followed by a Augusto Palacios (the perennial stand-in coach at Pirates) leading his charge against Highlands Park at Orlando.

Komphela will get an opportunity to further enhance his CV when Chiefs host FS Stars at their “home” away from home, Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday.

Will the proverbial axe chop one more coach this weekend?

Watch this space!

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:    telkom knockout  |  psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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