Absa Premiership - by extension the Premier Soccer league (PSL) - season kicks
off earnestly this weekend.
we have already had a taste of things to come with the MTN8 quarter-finals being
played this past weekend.
the teasing - known as ukugwarana or ukujovana - in township parlance, went
into overdrive following some shocking results from the weekend.
Pirates have been a butt of all jokes since the end of the past season after
finishing in 11th position and failing to lift a single piece
their club not laying their hands on any trophy either, the Kaizer Chiefs
myriad of followers had a field day, feasting in their arch-rivals' supporters
that at least they had a chance to remedy the situation after finishing fourth
on the log and thus qualifying for the MTN8 competition.
come last Saturday evening, Amakhosi were embarrassingly bundled out of the
competition via a 1-0 loss to SuperSport United.
opened a Pandora’s Box - if not a can of worms - for Amakhosi with the Buccaneers
supporters now pointing out that Chiefs only made it to last 90 minutes in the
competition and were only going to earn R800 000 for their efforts.
see, the MTN8 has this strange “winner-takes-all” set-up where only the
eventual champions pocket a mouth-watering cheque of R8 million while all the
other participants - including the losing finalists - only get a measly R800
through to Sunday afternoon, when Mamelodi Sundowns also joined those on the
proverbial South African football Wall of Shame, thanks to their unexpected 1-0
loss to Maritzburg United, Chiefs were trending for all the wrong reasons.
results started with Bidvest Wits beating Lamontville Golden Arrows via a
penalty shootout, Cape Town City handing new coach Benni McCarthy his maiden
PSL win by virtue of a 1-0 result over Polokwane City on Saturday meant that
Wits will play Cape Town City, while SuperSport United and Maritzburg United will contest the second semi-final.
are the vagaries of football.
this Friday, the season kicks off in earnest with the 22nd PSL
season, meaning a rollercoaster ride for fans that will end with the crowning
of the champion in May.
are a number of questions that are usually posed at the beginning of the
of them this time around is: Can Wits defend their league title, their first one
in 92 years of existence?
the Soweto giants - Chiefs and Pirates - rise from the ashes like the
proverbial Phoenix and reclaim some of their lost glory by lifting at least
a cup each?
are the players who will raise their hands and be stars of the coming season?
Mamelodi Sundowns reclaim their glory and conquer the local and continental
football scene once more?
one of the most burning questions, which many soccer pundits will find it even
hard to bet on, is: Who will be the first coach to bite the dust?
who knows a little bit about football knows that there is no job on earth that
is as insecure as that of a football coach.
will also be interesting to see how newcomers such as McCarthy and Fadlu
Davids (Maritzburg), Bernard Molekwa (Polokwane) and Peter Butler (Platinum Stars)
settle in their new environments.
Much as I am reluctant to enter
the debate on which clubs will be relegation candidates, expect AmaZulu, Baroka
FC, the two Free State clubs, Free State Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic, to be
somewhere there in the mix.
Let the games begin!
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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