PSL smarter after Bafana blow

2011-11-19 16:32

Bafana Bafana’s blunder in their last match of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers has forced the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to amend its rules.

To avoid a repeat of the premature excitement – when Bafana embarrassed themselves following their goalless draw against Sierra Leone last month – regarding the eventual winners of the Premiership, PSL bosses have decided to tighten the rules of the league.

Chairman Irvin Khoza said this week’s annual general meeting decided to amend the rules after the Bafana blow.

Bafana players celebrated after their draw convinced that the outcome had qualified them for next year’s Afcon finals, only to find out later that the Caf rules declared Niger – who lost 3-0 away to Egypt that very day – as the Group G winners.

The finals are co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

This was after SA, Niger and Sierra Leone all finished level on nine points.

According to Caf’s article 14.1, head-to-head principle had to be applied and put Niger ahead of Bafana, not on goal difference, but on the points acquired among the three teams.

Khoza said the PSL had learnt a valuable lesson from the debacle, which left the nation seething with anger at the SA Football Association for not understanding Afcon rules.

“We gained experience from what happened in the results that affected Bafana and we proposed amendments to the rules,” said Khoza. “This is tomake sure that eventually when it occurs it must not find us wanting.

“We have fine-tuned the rules so that when there is a tie, we apply the mechanism of making sure the head-to-head formula regulates the ultimate winner.”

Unlike the Caf rules, which look first at head-to-head if points are equal, Khoza said goal difference will determine the champions.

“What happened the last time with Bafana has made us realise the importance of aligning the rules to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap.”

He said if the two teams are still deadlocked after exhausting all the head-to-head differences, they will engage in a once-off play-off match at a neutral venue to decide the winner.

On more than one occasion, the Premiership title was decided on the last day of the season, with Mamelodi Sundowns pipping Kaizer Chiefs in the 1998/99 season on a better goal difference after the two clubs finished on 75 points.

In the 2008/09 season, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates finished on 55 points but United were the champions, also after a better goal difference.

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