The beautiful game revealed in all its simplicity reminds us of the pure joy of being truly captivated

2011-01-22 00:00

A RIVETING game last Friday night produced emphatic evidence of the potential of the Premier Soccer League — the feast dished up by Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs a sumptuous buffet of drama, twists, turns, speed, skills and determination.

The occasion was dressed up by the magnificent Cape Town Stadium, a majestic backdrop to the best game of the season so far.

It was proof that, on occasion, there is much to enthuse about in the local game and the quality of players, the way they play the game and the enthusiasm of the fans. It makes all those irritating foibles of the administrators all seem so irrelevant.

The great joy of this sport, at the end of the day, remains simplistic entertainment, the enjoyment of going to a well-appointed venue, sitting on the edge of your set and letting yourself be absorbed and captivated by the action unfolding before you.

The pure joy of watching a pulsating game is what brings the punters back week after week and, while it might be some time before we see a game of this calibre again, what Ajax and Chiefs did was make us look forward to the next match in case it too has all the elements that we appreciate about the game.

The high that comes after being so royally entertained also shovels to the sidelines all the extraneous business that swirls around the game and threatens to overwhelm it.

So while Ajax are speeding forward or Chiefs swiftly moving onto the counter attack, there is no thought to bungling officials, egotistical administrators, conniving managers, slimy agents and any of other odious sideshows. Who actually cares about all of that amid the fury of a great game of football? Not me … and I fancy not you either.

The rainbow crowd at the Cape Town venue on Friday was another of the encouraging spin-offs of the World Cup. The country’s other major venues will hopefully begin to pull in a more varied audience in future and help establish football as the country’s true national game.

Most of all we hope to see more games of the calibre of the Ajax v Chiefs match on a more regular basis. Attacking football played at a relentless pace has no equal for entertainment.

Both teams deserve kudos for reminding us of why we enjoy the sport so much and show how simplistic its beauty can be.

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and editorial director of Mzanzi Football.

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