Amakhosi’s long, dreaded wait

2013-05-05 10:01

Kaizer Chiefs would have long won the Absa Premiership title had it not been for the draws they have scored so far. Timothy Molobi and S’Busiso Mseleku dissect the log scenario, both at the top and in the relegation zone

Had Kaizer Chiefs won all the 11 matches they have drawn so far this season, the Absa Premiership trophy would long have been nestling in their Naturena home’s cabinet.

The matches they have drawn translates to 22 points had they won and this means they would have amassed 78 points.

But wait a minute ... they are not the only side whose progress has been hindered by draws and are by far not the worst hit either.

SuperSport United and University of Pretoria are the hardest hit as they have dropped 30 points each, thanks to their 15 stalemates, which are just two matches shy of the PSL record of 17 draws held by Santos and Free State Stars in the 2005/2006 season.

SuperSport could have the final say as to where the title ends because they still have to go up against Chiefs and second-placed Platinum Stars.

Chiefs have looked in control for the better part of the season but appear to be crumbling in front of the finish line.

Despite their 3-1 loss to Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday night, Amakhosi have been the most consistent side as that was only their second loss. The first was inflicted by Dikwena.

Sceptics are starting to doubt Chiefs’ credentials as serious contenders, especially after they won only one of their past five league matches – three draws and one defeat. They have drawn six matches at home.

But the bottleneck at both ends of the table is a neutral’s dream.

With two games to go before the league comes to an end, it is anybody’s guess as to who will be crowned the champions and who will ultimately go down.

Even bookmakers are stunned with bets at a premium because of the impending photo finish.

Although Chiefs are at the summit of the log, it has become a dog-eat-dog race with no clear favourites to snatch the R10 million first prize on offer.

At the top it is a rat race between three teams, with every result having a bearing on the log ­standing.

The championship will go down to the wire, but Chiefs’ fate lies in their hands. All they need to do is to win their remaining two games.

With their lead at the top reduced to a mere three points, there is still a lot to play for.

But they could end up winning it before even playing their next fixture against SuperSport if second-placed Stars and third-placed Orlando Pirates fail to gain maximum points next weekend.

While Chiefs have a bye,

Stars visit wounded Golden Arrows in Durban and Pirates host Mamelodi Sundowns, also on Saturday.

Failure to win next weekend means Chiefs would be declared the champions as they would not be reachable at the summit by virtue of a better goal difference, even if they were to lose their remaining two fixtures.

No one saw it coming but Chiefs’ failure to win against Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday – their second loss of the season – meant Stars and Pirates were back in the reckoning, but only just.

If the title race is hotting up, it is even trickier down in the basement.

Golden Arrows, Ajax Cape Town, Chippa United and Black Leopards face relegation at the end of the league run.

It does not look good for bottom-of-the-log Leopards, as their chances of survival seem remote judging by their remaining fixtures against Sundowns, Pirates and Free State Stars.

They’ve recorded only one win in six matches.

The arrival of Mark Harrison at Chippa United has brought a good omen to the Cape side as it is yet to lose under the Englishman.

Their 1-0 victory over defending champions Pirates last weekend has given them hopes of survival.

Golden Arrows have also been drawn into the relegation battle after winning only once in nine matches.

Their last game of the season against Ajax will determine who goes down.

Muhsin Ertugral’s arrival at struggling Ajax has also changed their fortunes.

But it’s still a while before the fat lady sings.

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