S'Busiso Mseleku

Squeaky bum time!

2015-03-13 15:06
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Squeaky bum time!

This soccer (football) term - referring to the final stages of a league competition, especially from the point of view of the leaders - was popularised by that immortalised Scottish fellow, Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Updated PSL standings

He usually used it in reference to the last minutes of the match. This eventually became known as Fergie time", more especially by rival managers such as Arsene Wenger, who believed that Manchester United under Ferguson always had that extra referees optional time of around four minutes more especially when they were losing at Old Trafford.

The term becomes appropriate in summing up the current situation in the Absa Premiership.

But exciting enough, it does not apply to the title race, but to the dog fight that has ensued at the bottom of the table.

As things stand, Kaizer Chiefs who at some stage had a sizeable lead at the top, had that chopped to a mere eight by close rivals and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns after midweek games.

While Amakhosi were losing 1-0 to Maritzburg - their second loss in the league following a 2-0 trouncing by SuperSport United - The Brazilians were making hay by annihilating Polokwane City 5-0.

These results meant that the gap between No 1 and No 2 is now down to eight points. Mind you, Sundowns still have a game in hand, meaning that they still have the opportunity of reducing the deficit to a mere five points.

All of a sudden those aligned to Chiefs might be feeling that the goalless draw against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates were two dropped points rather than one gained.

Mind you, the mighty Buccaneers followed the Soweto Derby draw with a resounding 2-0 victory over the ailing Chippa United.

This result meant that they still have a mathematical chance of winning the league title.

So what does all this do to Chiefs?

Your guess is as good as mine. Right now, I think they might be panicking because the same thing happened last season where they forfeited what at some stage was a 13 point lead to be leapfrogged by Sundowns in the final furlong.

Bidvest Wits, who just a week ago, seemed like the main contenders, have lost two successive matches to Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu, thus dropping off the radar as they now lie fourth, a distant 11 points behind Chiefs with seven matches to go.

But while focus has been on the league title battle, an interesting scenario has been developing at the bottom.

AmaZulu, who have been propping up the table since the beginning of the season and were struggling to even get to 10 points, have suddenly found winning ways.

They stunned SuperSport United 5-2 two weeks ago, followed that up with a 1-all away draw to Mpumalanga Black Aces and then beat Bidvest Wits 3-1.

That's seven points in the bag which has taken them to 16, just six shy of the 15th-placed Moroka Swallows who needed two last-minute goals to overcome fellow strugglers Free State Stars 2-1.

Free State Stars are also not far off from the drop zone as they are tied with Swallows on 22 points with Aces a mere point ahead.

Platinum Stars and Chippa United are just on 24 points.

So it is an interesting race both at the top for the honours and at the bottom to avoid the dreaded drop.

The weeks leading to the conclusion in May should bring more excitement given that Chiefs and Sundowns still have to meet towards the end of April in what many are touting as a league-decider.

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.

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The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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