Talking points from dramatic PSL programme

2019-11-20 06:02
The big Chief ... Ernst Middendorp.PHOTO: gallo images

The big Chief ... Ernst Middendorp.PHOTO: gallo images

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IT was another dramatic weekend in the PSL, highlighted by the Chiefs-Pirates battle in Johannesburg and Sundowns getting ambushed in the rain in Durban. Here are three talking points from the goal-filled action:

FAN-FRIENDLY FRIDAY FOOTBALL

Depending on which Maritzburg United player, official or fan you speak to, their well-supported Friday matches are dubbed “Friday Night Lights” or “Friday Night Live”, but what is clear is that it is hard for visiting teams to suppress the “Team of Choice” on that day of the week at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The modest club run by the Kadodia family, who come from a retail background, have gone without loss in 17 Friday matches at home since 2017.

This follows their 2-2 draw comeback against a stunned Bloem Celtic in the Absa Premiership, which left United seventh in the standings and Celtic eighth.

MIDDENDORP VERSUS MOKWENA AND MOSIMANE

South African football is hardly ever short of drama, and further spice came in the form of Pirates caretaker coach Rhulani Mokwena vehemently accusing his Chiefs counterpart Ernst Middendorp of asking his players to rough up the Buccaneers in the big derby at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Mokwena basically labelled Chiefs as thugs, but Middendorp was not about to get into a slanging match with his younger colleague. After all, he had the points in the bag — the most important thing.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane also had some verbal sparring with Middendorp recently, but perhaps it’s just another sign of Chiefs’ strong revival under the German coach.

GLOVES WITH HOLES

Goalkeepers are known to be among the craziest players in any squad, but it can’t be fun for Sundowns and Pirates to see their respective “cats” Denis Onyango and Wayne Sandilands struggle to keep clean sheets, especially with Chiefs bidding to edge them to the league title.

There have been more blunders than expected by Sandilands (36) and Onyango (34) with Pirates shipping a hefty 16 goals in 11 league games and Sundowns an unsatisfactory 10 in 10.

Another unimpressive situation is the growing feigning of injuries by goalkeepers near half-time or full-time to stop the game temporarily and disturb the opposition’s rhythm.

Meanwhile, United’s Richard Ofori made it clear when he came here from Ghana in 2017 that he saw it as a possible stepping stone to Europe.

Now, his agent has informed United that there is interest in him from an unspecified Belgian club, with transfermarkt.com rating Ofori at €700 000.

Said United boss Farook Kadodia: “There is interest in the player according to his agent, but no concrete offer on the table, so we won’t get too excited for now.”

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