PSL action: it’s now or never

2012-02-12 07:54

It’s now or never for Absa Premiership tail-enders Jomo Cosmos and Black Leopards who kick off their battle for survival against title contenders Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates respectively on Wednesday.

Cosmos have only nine points from 15 games. This makes them and Leopards – who have one point more than Ezenkosi and Santos, who are a further two points ahead – relegation candidates.

However, Cosmos boss Jomo Sono is not worried, saying his team has been hitting the back of the net during the month-long break where they played against top sides including Inter Luanda of Angola.

“We have been scoring so many goals. If these were league games, we would be on top of the log,” said Sono as he prepared for survival in the top flight.

There will be many questions to answer as the league resumes on Wednesday after a rather needless almost two-months break.

Top of the teams’ concerns would be how the break has affected players.

The recess could have hampered the momentum of some teams, particularly log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who had the energy going, but it was a welcome relief for others as it gave them a chance to reflect on their first half misfortunes. The PSL also had the chance to do stocktaking on the dwindling numbers at stadiums and hopefully there will be a change in the second half.

The PSL transfer window period was not as busy as it was expected with only Pirates hyperactive on the market – acquiring Sifiso Myeni, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Njabulo Manqana and Luis Boa Morte. Sundowns caught one big fish in Anthony Laffor.

Surprisingly, Chiefs, who did not have the best of first halves, were very quiet with their coach Vladimir Vermezovic saying there was no need to reinforce the team as the focus was on retaining what they had.

“It was more important for us to retain the players in the squad than signing new ones,” he told the club’s website. It came as a surprise when Moroka Swallows’ coach Gordon Igesund tipped Sundowns to lift the trophy, when his team is only five points adrift of the log leaders.

Igesund’s remarks were not well received by some supporters as the insinuation was that he has already thrown in the towel.

Santos’ chief operating officer Edries Burton says their priority is to stave off the relegation threat.

The former skipper believes they have acquired the right players to take the People’s Team away from danger.

They have signed Gert Schalkwyk, Nasief Morris and Matthew Patterson.

“Based on what I have seen at our practice matches, I can confidently say we will do well in the second round,” said Burton.

He said they have played against SuperSport United, who had a camp in Cape Town, and a Zambian team as well as other local sides.

“The first five matches will be crucial as they will determine our fate.”

Free State Stars’ general manager Rantsi Mokoena said they wanted to consolidate their sixth spot “maybe even push harder for the title”.

Neighbours Bloemfontein Celtic will also use the second round to get closer to the top.

According to chief executive Khumbulani Konco they want to finish higher than last season’s fifth spot.

The heat is on – at the top and bottom – with no team guaranteed success as yet.

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