Cape Town - Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza has welcomed the increased professionalism and competitiveness in the league.
Speaking at the league's annual general meeting on Thursday, Khoza also discussed the recent fortunes of Orlando Pirates - last season was the first time in the PSL-era that the club had finished outside of the top eight.
Khoza believes there were a number of factors at play, and also feels that it should be taken into account that success can often lead to more exertion and travel, as well as increased pressure and expectation.
"Unfortunately nobody has ever come out on the impact of what our travel on the continent (Bucs reached the finals of the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup in 2013 and 2015) has done to the players‚" he said.
"Having won the treble back-to-back‚ then been in four finals internally‚ and a further two on the continent‚ and the traveling has its own effect on the players. And that's why we are looking now at how to re-energise the team."
The Pirates boss is optimistic that the Bucs ship is sailing in the right direction under head coach Milutin Sredojevic and his technical team.
"If there are issues that we have learnt‚ that need to be improved on in the technical team and around it‚ we are making a serious effort in making sure that we correct some of the issues that we have identified‚ to reinforce some of the areas around the technical team.
"But firstly it's also about discussing it with the coach before we affect those changes‚ because he must also be satisfied with them.
"Never in the history of this team (in the PSL era) have we not been in the top eight. It's the first time. But we are confident‚ with the coach‚ that we should give him our support."
There will, however, always be pressure, Khoza conceded, before welcoming the increased competitiveness in the league.
"Unfortunately the nature of our team is such that it builds pressure. Not only from us but also the media‚ for who it is also very important for the team to do well.
"It's expected to do well. It's got the history and tradition of doing well," he explained.
"But I must say that I'm happy that the league has improved this much‚ that you cannot take things for granted. And if you're going to be lackadaisical in your approach and preparations you will be punished.
"Teams have been professionalised‚ they all use a lot of analytics. So it's not easy like before. You must be ahead of the competition.
"So let's hope that with all the changes that we are going to be affecting‚ and with the input from the coach‚ maybe it will be better than what it is now."