Safa has a massive headache – what to do with the 498 games remaining to conclude the ABC Motsepe League season.
With the PSL having restarted its programme with the Nedbank Cup semifinals, amateur football remains suspended under national lockdown level 3 regulations. And it is unlikely that the second division clubs will complete their campaign in time for the start of the next season.
On Friday, the PSL announced its plans to start the 2020/21 season on October 9. This means the Motsepe League has 60 days to finish the 486 remaining games across nine streams, plus the 12 national play-off games.
The third tier is a long and arduous amateur league that involves finishing the season and having all provincial winners contesting play-offs to determine the two graduates to the GladAfrica Championship.
A tough decision lies ahead for Safa and the PSL regarding the two promotion spots in the NFD that must be filled by Motsepe League teams. Some solutions proposed by club officials City Press spoke to include automatically promoting the two teams with the most points, cancelling the season or coming to an agreement with the PSL to promote two teams later in the year.
Hungry Lions are top of the table in the Northern Cape stream with 51 points from 21 games.
“It’s a very difficult situation to comment on, my brother. I have no idea how we are going to resolve this one,” coach Henry Basie said.
“You can’t just choose the team with the most points and say they will be promoted. The team in second place will challenge that in court. I honestly don’t know what we should do. It will be up to Safa to decide.”
If two teams were to be promoted based on overall points, Polokwane City Rovers in North West with 61 points and Mvoti United from KwaZulu-Natal with 60 points would benefit.
However, such a decision would be controversial as other teams have games in hand.
In response to a City Press question in a televised press conference on Friday, PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza said two spots were allocated for the ABC Motsepe League teams in the GladAfrica Championship, adding that the status quo remained. However, he did not elaborate on what would happen if the promotion wasn’t decided by October 9.
“As the PSL, we have made the two slots for teams from the ABC Motsepe League. It is not for us to make any announcements about what will happen because we have done our constitutional requirements. I know that there is an effort being made for two teams to join us in the new season,” Khoza said.
The remaining Motsepe league fixtures are: Gauteng (58); North West (37); Limpopo (49); Mpumalanga (43); the Northern Cape (67); the Free State (40); KwaZulu-Natal (49); the Eastern Cape (49); and the Western Cape (94). The national play-offs have 12 fixtures.
Safa’s Mzwandile Maforvane, who has been tasked with overseeing the return of amateur football, said they were still waiting for the green light from government for the ABC Motsepe League to return.
“We do have a plan for the return of the ABC Motsepe League games. As you know, we have to follow the correct procedures in terms of getting approval from government. But the plan is for teams to return to training in the coming two weeks,” said Maforvane.
“Games should restart sometime next month; we are just finalising those details. I am confident that we will be able to promote two teams [to the NFD]. We are aware that the PSL will start the new season on October 9. At worst, we might need to ask the PSL for a delay of a week or two.”
Meanwhile, Safa is still reeling from a tragedy after its region of Umkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal reported that an amateur player died during an unsanctioned game recently.
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