PSL must emulate World Cup

The 2014 Soccer World Cup is barely two weeks behind us and one - as many soccer followers globally - is already feeling the "babalas".

If there was one aspect the world spectacle delivered on, it was goals. There were goals galore and it managed to surpass the South African version of 2010 while matching the France 1998 World Cup on the goals front.

The end of the quadrennial event means it's back to the grind of domestic leagues around the world.

Here in South Africa we are left with the Absa Premiership that is played under the auspices of the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

One can also draw consolation from the fact that our television screens - thanks to our freedom attained in 1994 - can now show us a variety of top league matches from around the globe.

Our television screens bring stars from the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, the Dutch Eredivisie and a host of other leagues straight into our living rooms.

But if you want to watch football live at the stadium or you are one of those who believe that local is lekker, then the Absa Premiership plus the sprinkling of cup competitions such as the MTN8, Telkom Challenge and the Nedbank Cup, are your main entertainment.

South African players have come under the spotlight for their failure to find the back of the net, something that has been the local game's nemesis for ages now.

Here is hoping that while our players were twiddling their thumbs while watching the World Cup, they picked up a tip or two on how to put the damn thing at the back of the net.

Hopefully nightmares of the past seasons such as the last one where Bernard Parker just scored 10 goals to finish as top goal-scorer are things of the past.

There was some promise this past weekend as the Charity Showdown featuring Bidvest Wits, AmaZulu, Bloemfontein Celtic and Mpumalanga Black Aces produced six goals in all three matches. That’s an average of two goals per match, unlike the usual goalless draws that have become so synonymous with South African soccer.

For the record, Celtic edged out hosts Wits 1-0 in the semi-finals while AmaZulu booked their place in the final via a 2-1 score-line over Aces.

Celtic was crowned the inaugural champions with a 2-0 win over Usuthu.

In the other competition - the Gauteng Cup - played on the same Saturday at Atteridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium, there was an avalanche of goals.

Reigning league champions Mamelodi Sundowns started the day by burying Moroka Swallows in a glut of five goals with no reply.

The second game between SuperSport United and the University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) did not disappoint either, producing four goals as it ended with a 2-all draw before SuperSport proceeded to the final on penalties.

They went on to beat Sundowns 4-3 on penalties after a 1-all draw at full time.

So, all in all the three matches produced 11 goals in open play. Not bad at all.

Then on Sunday, at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Kaizer Chiefs and Chippa United entertained the 25 000-plus crowd with six goals as Amakhosi emerged 4-2 winners.

So one just hopes that this was a glimpse to the season we are about to have that is not short of goals and entertainment.

One can only hope.

The downside could be that the players were not under pressure as these were just friendly matches after all. Hopefully they don’t freeze once they are under pressure when real business starts.

Let’s hope they don’t and let the games begin!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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