Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates midfielder Kermit Erasmus this week jokingly suggested that soccer should adopt a ‘powerplay’ restriction in defence in order to increase the amount of goals in the Premier Soccer League.
Powerplay is the name given to fielding restrictions in limited-overs and Twenty20 cricket, where players are forced to remain inside an inner-ring on the field, handing batsman the advantage and enabling them to launch assaults on the bowling, with the aim of scoring as many boundaries as possible in a space of five to ten overs.
Kaizer Chiefs’ Bernard Parker is set to walk away with the top goal-scorers’ award for his tally of 10 league goals this season, but Erasmus said the number was lower than expected from 30 Premiership games in a season.
"I think it’s difficult for Bernard Parker, playing for a big club like Kaizer Chiefs,” Erasmus said.
"When you play against smaller teams, they all sit back and defend. They park the bus and try to hit the big teams on the counter. So it’s a bit difficult breaking down the defence.
“I joked that there should be a powerplay moment in football where teams shouldn’t defend and just open up and attack, like in cricket where nobody can stand on the boundaries.
“If that were possible, it would up the top goal-scorers tally and we’d see more goals from us as strikers."
Parker’s total of 10 league goals marked a dismal campaign following the league’s record-setting effort from then Chiefs striker Collins Mbesuma in 2004/05, scoring 25 goals for the Glamour Boys.
Since 2005, only a single player - Siyabonga Nomvethe at Moroka Swallows - reached the magical 20-goal mark in 2011/12 . Richard Henyekane came the next closest in 2009, netting 19 goals for Golden Arrows.
In stark contrast, the English Premier League’s top goal-scorer this season, Liverpool’s Luiz Suarez, tripled Parker’s tally and reached 31 league goals.
Six South African Premiership sides, including Pirates, scored less than 31 goals combined.
Mamelodi Sundowns, the Premiership’s top scorers, managed 51 goals from 30 fixtures this season, giving them an average of 1,7 goals per game.
In comparison, Manchester City scores a staggering 102 goals from 38 English Premier League fixtures, with an average of 2,7 goals per games.
“As a striker, you’re rated on the amount of goals you’ve scored, not on how you’ve worked off the ball,” Erasmus lamented.