An interesting scenario is developing in the race for
the Absa Premiership title. Well, that is if one can still call it a race as at
the moment Kaizer Chiefs seem to be running away with it, note the emphasis on
"at the moment".
The interesting scenario is with the chasing pack.
Take this past week. Mamelodi Sundowns started the
week placed second. The Brazilians must have started licking their lips when
Amakhosi were held to a 2-all draw by Platinum Stars "at home" -
Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Stadium - in the first match of the week, on Tuesday
Orlando Pirates, who lost 2-0 in the Soweto Derby last
Saturday, must have also thought this was an opportunity for them to narrow the
gap between them and their arch-rivals.
But a goalless draw between the two giants - Sundowns
and Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night - plus a Bidvest Wits 4-2
victory over Ajax Cape Town, saw yet another game of musical chairs on the log
Wits leapfrogged Sundowns into second on the table, but
they are still a good 11 points adrift of the red-hot Chiefs.
Sundowns dropped a notch to third while Pirates are
now languishing in ninth position, a good 18 points off Amakhosi's pace.
What has been interesting this season, is that while
Chiefs have continued to do their business diligently - let alone that they
have so far dropped eight points, thanks to four draws - the chasing pack has
been hell-bent on upsetting each other.
Their race resembles that of a cast of crabs trying to
get out of a bucket where they pull each other down.
As a result, the second position has been swapped
almost weekly between the likes of Ajax, Sundowns and Wits.
Why, even the likes of Chippa United, Maritzburg
United and Mpumalanga Black Aces have been on the frame.
With three rounds of matches - this weekend, midweek
and next weekend before Christmas and the more-than-month-long Africa Cup of
Nations-induced break in January - it will be interesting how the log will look
at the end of the year.
Just this weekend, we have among the matches, Chiefs
playing Chippa, Pirates fighting it out with Ajax (remember Roger de Sa was a
Pirates coach before and Tinkler who is now in charge was his assistant) and
Sundowns play neighbours Pretoria University, AmaTuks.
Tuesday sees Sundowns visit the tricky Maritzburg
while the following day Pirates will be involved in the original Soweto Derby
against Moroka Swallows and Wits visit Gordon Igesund-coached SuperSport
Chiefs will wrap up the year against Aces - who caused
their title hopes great harm last season, on Saturday, while on the same day
Sundowns will visit Ajax and Pirates close the year with Bloemfontein Celtic.
These are all mouth-watering fixtures that will have a
huge bearing on how the log looks come December 31.
I can tell you now without any fear of contradiction
that however it looks, it will make for an interesting home straight from February 10 to May.
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.
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