Iskhathi sama popayi siphelile. So goes the popular township saying, which, loosely translated, means “talk is cheap, now for the real deal”.
Before the PSL declared the resumption of its programme, there were too many heated debates about the title race and relegation. Local football fans were also at each other’s throats – teasing and mocking one another.
Obviously, the Amakhosi faithful were insisting that Kaizer Chiefs should be declared league champions if the season was cancelled. Mamelodi Sundowns fans were against Chiefs being given the championship on a silver platter.
There was no consensus on what should happen. The heated debates were also about the fate of the Premiership sides facing the drop to the GladAfrica Championship, as well as who should gain automatic promotion from the NFD to the elite league. Those calling for the season to be declared null and void failed in their attempt. Obviously, most of them were supporters of clubs in danger of going down.
As it stands, Black Leopards, AmaZulu, Polokwane City, Baroka, Chippa United, Stellenbosch, Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic could still be relegated. In fact, the teams in the bottom half of the table face the prospect of being chopped. There were no winners in both aspects – and rightfully so.
With the remaining six or so PSL matches, surely there are going to be twists, turns and more drama before we eventually get to the finish line.
Now it’s time to settle these debates – once and for all – on the field of play and without any boardroom favours.
This is more about fair play and there shouldn’t be any excuses for failure when all the games are played come next month.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will give us what we have been starved of – great football and a good advert for South African soccer.
As soccer fans, we have all been yearning for action and we hope the teams will live up to the expectations when the season restarts. It’s been a very long wait – four months to be exact – and this inaction has led to many unnecessary conflicts as people had too much time on their hands.
PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza often refers to the beautiful game as the number one index of happiness in the country. And without football, so many things could go wrong.
But have you ever imagined what it would be like watching the games on the small screen alone at home, and without your favourite drink, nogal? This was so unfathomable until now that I don’t know how the supporters are going to cope with this new normal, particularly when their teams don’t do well.
But it is what it is. I guess we just have to adapt.
Also, there is no place to hide for everyone involved in “project restart”, including the match officials. I hope the refereeing teams will do better this time.
Before matches were halted due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in March, poor officiating was a hot topic of discussion.
The match officials were really bad in the first half of the season, and we can only hope that they have recharged their batteries and are up to the challenge.
This is a chance for them to redeem themselves, especially because games will be coming thick and fast – with most of them screened live on TV.
Meanwhile, the small matter of when the ABC Motsepe League programme will resume needs to be resolved. Their campaign is also important because it will determine who gains promotion to the NFD. It is not clear how and when will this be done, if at all.
Hopefully, there will be clarity on this issue soon.
As for the PSL players, I hope they will come to the party and show us what we have been missing as soccer fans.
Like I always say, this too shall pass. For now, let’s sing along to a popular song by American pop band AJR: “Let the games begin!”.
It will be a mad dash to the finish line as the PSL still has 113-games that need to be played in the next 43 days before the season can officially end. Thereafter there will be a break of a month and the 2020/21 campaign will commence. PSL chairman Irvin Khoza announced that the new season will start on October 9. Here is a timeline of when this season will be concluded and when the next one will begin:
August 11: Absa Premiership resumes
August 30: GladAfrica ends
September 5: Premiership ends
September 8/12: Nedbank Cup final
September 6-21: PSL playoffs
September 22-November 17: Transfer window
October 9: Start of 2020/21 PSL season
February 1-March 1: Transfer window