S'Busiso Mseleku

Should SA soccer fans brace for goals galore?

2018-01-19 12:07
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

If what we saw this past weekend is anything to go by, we might just as well brace ourselves not only for some good football, but a good dose of goals as well.

For the better part of the first half of the 2017/2018 domestic season, the common talk and headlines were about the “goal drought”.

So bad were things that one lost count of matches that ended in goalless if not 1-all draws.

However, things changed for the better last weekend as the eight Absa Premiership matches produced a glut of 21 goals which translates to an average of 2.6 strikes per match.  

Given our Premier Soccer League (PSL) record, that’s a huge improvement by any measure.

Maritzburg United - who Fadlu Davids has turned into some sort of a mean machine, if you dismiss this week’s 1-0 loss to SuperSport United as a mere blip - led the pack with a 4-0 baptism of fire they handed to Bloemfontein Celtic.

And not only was there the superfluity of goals to be excited about but the brand of football dished out in most of the matches was a sight to behold.

The Mamelodi Sundowns v Orlando Pirates clash at Loftus was billed as the “pick of the week” and really lived up to its billing.

That Pirates avenged their last season’s embarrassing 6-0 annihilation with a 3-1 victory is beside the point but the sides pulled out every trick in the book to outplay each other.

And this resulted in a highly entertaining game of football.

It has become quite rare in South Africa for us to use such superlatives in describing a football match but this one was one of those where you couldn't even afford to blink.

For those watching on television, it was even difficult to leave the sofa to pour a drink or run a short errand between the living room and the kitchen.

With the Nedbank Cup still to come, there is a still plenty of football and soccer lovers must be licking their lips in anticipation of some mouthwatering football being dished out on our soccer fields countrywide.

The challenge now lies with the coaches to instill discipline on their players to ensure that one swallow does not mean that it’s summer in this instance.

There should be no room for complacency because the season has reached that stage where you snooze, you lose.

It is at this stage of the season where the league usually becomes a three-pronged battle. There are those clubs who fight for league honours and currently there are a number of contenders including surprise package Free State Stars who find themselves second on the log.

Sundowns, as some had predicted for some time, are perched at the top of the log and among the chasing pack are the usual suspects Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

Just what has led to Bidvest Wits imploding as they have, no one can put their finger on it. The defending champions are currently second from bottom in the 16-team log and even coach Gavin Hunt has run out of words to explain what happened.

Before their victory against Maritzburg, SuperSport United were firing blanks a couldn’t replicate the form that saw them reach the final of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup.

However, this win has moved them to position 11, a bit safe from the relegation zone they had occupied for some time.

If the past weekend is anything to go by, we need to brace ourselves, fasten our seatbelts and enjoy a jolly ride to the end of the season.

What a way to start a new year!

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.

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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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