Tumo Mokone

Wanted: fireworks in the PSL!

2010-02-05 14:23
Sport24 columnist Tumo Mokone (File)
Tumo Mokone

This should be a big weekend for the Absa Premiership, after a listless resumption in midweek. The six week-long break since a week before Christmas last year had a telling effect on Tuesday and Wednesday when just two matches from a full programme of eight fixtures produced winners.

The players were not up to it psychologically, after spending such a long time without playing competitive matches. That fact alone points to a serious flaw in the mental make-up of PSL players. It was not the players’ fault that they had to stay so long without playing official matches. However the mental resolve to want to compete and win must always be there.

It’s a mark of professionalism for player or team to be able to compete hard after a long layoff. It is incredible that half of the midweek fixtures ended in 0-0 draws. In one of the goalless matches, Bloemfontein Celtic did score twice against title contenders, Mamelodi Sundowns, and both goals were disallowed.

People are wondering whether the referee’s action was meant to help Sundowns remain within the sight of champions and log-leaders SuperSport United, who are three points ahead of their city rivals. Sundowns, who have a game in hand, will surely curse the mid-season hiatus because before Christmas they were the hottest team in the Premiership.

It had remained a point of interest to see how much the recess fat would affect their momentum, and the hunger to be champions again after a long time. Needless to say the “Brazilians” were the shadow of their former self towards the end of 2009. Their coach, Hristo Stoichkov, admitted they were lucky to get away with a point. He must thank referee Charl Theron for lending a helping help.

Whether Sundowns will find their blistering form again will be seen when they travel to Ajax Cape Town on Sunday. Even more interesting is that Ajax were one of the two teams to win in the midweek, as they beat visiting Platinum Stars 2-0. Sundowns are a class above Stars many times over. That fact however will not help them because Ajax are known to take the fight to bigger clubs. Pirates and Chiefs will attest to this fact, after suffering heart-breaking defeats to the “Urban Warriors” in the past.

The two Soweto giants will be in action on Saturday, with Chiefs hosting relegation candidates Jomo Cosmos. Chiefs, who blew their chances in a goalless draw against Moroka Swallows, still have an outside chance at the title. They are six points off the pace with five rounds of matches to go. Another draw tomorrow – or worse – they are out.

Pirates on the other hand gave up the chase when they drew with pacesetters United. Their coach Ruud Krol threw his frustrations at national coach, for subjecting his star players to what he deems “excessive physical training” during the recent Bafana Bafana camp in Durban. The Bucs had seven players in that camp, and the strange thing about Krol’s outburst is that he had praised Carlos Alberto Parreira for inspiring his players.

The praise came when the players returned to the club, with Krol describing his “Magnificent 7” as sharper and more eager than other players in his squad. But the accolades came before a painfully inconsistent Pirates huffed and puffed to a scoreless draw. United happily gained an away draw, and in the process shut out Pirates’ ambition as Krol’s team is now 10 points behind.

On Saturday Bucs take a short trip to Wits, where even a 10-nil victory will not help them win the league title this season. If anything, Pirates concern should be the form of the teams immediately below them. They are just one and three points ahead of sixth and seventh placed Ajax and Celtic respectively.

Like Ajax, Celtic will also be at home on Sunday, to Swallows. This season the green and white team started their home games as favourites, thanks to the eerie atmosphere their home fans create for visitors at Seisa Ramabodu stadium.

Meanwhile, United will fancy their chance of bagging maximum points at home to Free State Stars in the early evening on Saturday. The visitors are not good on the road and secondly, mentally “Matsatsantsa” will be too strong for the boys from Bethlehem, in the eastern Free State plattelands. 

After the limp showing in the midweek, fireworks should mark the PSL fixtures this weekend.

Tumo writes exclusively for Sport24.

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.


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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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