Absa Premiership

The ups and downs of the PSL so far

2017-12-24 06:04
The PSL has grown into a big brand.(Supplied)

Johannesburg - Bidvest Wits finished the year on a low note. Gavin Hunt will be hoping for a better result next year after ending this year at the bottom of the table. He might have won the Telkom Knockout title, but it is the league that matters the most – especially for defending champions.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela will have a merry Christmas following his team’s back-to-back victories before the break. The arrival of Leonardo Castro should help ease the pressure on the club’s misfiring strikers, although the Colombian had not been too sharp in front of goals, either.

Despite losing their last game of the year, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will not have sleepless nights after the Brazilians peaked at the right time to end the year on top of the log. Their loss to Cape Town City should not affect their momentum going into the new year.

SuperSport United will also be hoping to get their act together in the domestic league following their sojourn in the CAF Confederation Cup. United have not fully recovered from their loss to TP Mazembe in the final and will need to recharge their batteries during this break. In fact, they need the holiday the most as they didn’t rest during the off season because of their involvement in the tournament.

Roger De Sá is probably ruing the break as Platinum Stars seemed to have woken up at the right time. After winning two of their past three games against Polokwane City and Bidvest Wits, Stars were on a roll. However, the break will give him a chance to reinforce the departments that he feels need some work.

Benni McCarthy must be familiar with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) ropes by now after his running battles with match officials. After being thrown into the deep end, he has done extremely well in his maiden coaching job. Under his guidance, Cape Town City reached the MTN 8 final, where they lost to SuperSport United and also finished the year in second place.

The same cannot be said about Stanley Menzo, who became the latest casualty after parting ways with Ajax Cape Town. Ajax have not been the same this season and their 15th position says it all. Something has to give if they are to retain their Premiership status.

Clinton Larsen must also be wondering where it all went wrong as his Golden Arrows side is still to fire on all cylinders. Abafana Bes’thende find themselves in 10th position after only three wins in 15 matches. In fact, they are going into the break without a win in the past 10 games. Larsen will have to change the team’s fortunes in the new year.

After starting the year on a high, Maritzburg United have been blowing hot and cold. Fadlu Davids still has a lot to do with the team, but there were signs of rediscovering their early form.

Luc Eymael should be content with Free State Stars’ progress so far. At one stage, Ea Lla Koto found themselves in an unfamiliar position – second on the log – all because of the Belgian’s leadership. They finished the year on a high, with two consecutive victories over SuperSport and Orlando Pirates.

No one would blame Eymael if he were to ask for a Christmas bonus.

Bloemfontein Celtic got a wake-up call following their 4-1 drubbing by Sundowns and finished the year on a rather low note. They also lost in the final of the Telkom Knockout and are sixth going into the new year, but Serbian coach Veselin Jelušic has so far done a good job to change Celtic’s fortunes.

A lot was expected from Orlando Pirates this season, but they have not been inspiring in front of goals. Coach Milutin Sredojevic has tried different combinations, but the results have been the same. Two own goals in two successive matches sum up their first half of the season.

Teboho Moloi may have been given a lifetime contract by Chippa Mpengesi after beating Kaizer Chiefs, but the league is not only about Chiefs – as he has found out. Following the victory over Amakhosi, Chippa United went on to lose their next two games to Ajax Cape Town and Polokwane City, and Moloi should check if Mpengesi’s remarks are worth the paper they are written on – or was it just a cheap publicity stunt?

After experiencing mixed fortunes, Polokwane City’s Bernard Molekwa should be aware of the heartache that coaching brings. City have twice dropped crucial points on the verge of winning matches when they drew in the last minutes of their matches against Golden Arrows and Bidvest Wits. Molekwa needs to tighten the screws at the back if he wants to survive in the job.

AmaZulu have not done as was expected from them and Cavin Johnson needs to get his act together in the new year. After spending millions buying their PSL status, the last thing Usuthu bosses want to see is their club hovering in the relegation zone.

After dicing with relegation last season, Baroka FC seemed to have learnt from their nearly fatal experience as they started with a bang and led the standings for a long time. However, they have since lost their marbles again. Their victory over SuperSport last weekend was what they needed before the break.

Read more on:    psl  |  johannesburg  |  soccer
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Fixtures
Saturday, 24 February 2018
Baroka FC v Polokwane City, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
Cape Town City FC v Wits, Athlone Stadium 18:00
Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United, Lucas Moripe Stadium 18:00
Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic, FNB Stadium 20:15
Free State Stars v AmaZulu FC, Goble Park 20:15
Sunday, 25 February 2018
Golden Arrows v Ajax Cape Town, Princess Magogo Stadium 15:15
Chippa United v Orlando Pirates, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Baroka FC v Cape Town City FC, Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
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