PSL title race hotting up!

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
The Absa Premiership title race is reaching fever-pitch before the Christmas break. I know, some will say, it’s too early as there are still more than a half the games to go before the league culminates.

Latest PSL standings

But with some clubs having played just over 10 games, it is interesting that the usual suspects Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows are already occupying the top part of the log.

Platinum Stars who came second in the league last season, are third. They continue with their rich vein of form that has seen them lift the MTN8 Cup trophy and are in the Telkom KO Cup final where they face Orlando Pirates on Saturday evening.

These are signs of consistent club, despite losing coach Cavin Johnson who joined SuperSport United at the beginning of this season. In their wisdom, the club’s management appointed Allan Freese who was part of the technical team and so far the move seems to have been a stroke of genius.

Missing in the top four is Orlando Pirates but there is a good reason for that; they have only played five matches. This is due to their engagement in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.

 They currently prop up the table and have become a butt of jokes from the opposite sides’ supporters. The Pirates die-hards – known as The Ghost - though can be east bothered as they continuously point out that they have played fewer games than everybody else.

This however has not stopped, more especially Chiefs supporters from throwing back that old adage of how a bird in hand is worth two more in the bush.

Such is the interesting and exciting football banter.

This past weekend’s 2-0 away win by Chiefs have cost yet another coach his job.

Steve Komphela was fired after Free State Stars suffered their fifth league defeat of the season. They have only won three matches out of 11. Management said their decision to get rid of the coach was based on the club’s overall performance, including the MTN8 and the Telkom.

While the league title race is exciting and interesting, the crowds continue to dwindle though. The rows and rows of empty seats during Sunday’s league encounter between Sundowns and Swallows at the Loftus Stadium were a sight for sore eyes.

Unfortunately – or is it fortunately – the reason is not very difficult to decipher.

The match was played at the same time with the English Premier League Tottenham Hotspur/Manchester United clash. Switching between the two channels that carried the two matches live, the contrast was too stark.

Besides the level of the two games, the vibe created by a packed White Hart Lane and as the few blaring vuvuzela’s at Loftus, was quite noticeable.

Our football authorities need to do something drastic to draw more crowds back into our football.

This is a big challenge for the PSL to ensure that clubs draw more people to their games or their product would soon become unattractive for television broadcasters and thus affect the level o sponsorship.

Clubs also need to do their bit in both attracting players of a high quality into their books.

That Thulani Serero – who scored a cracker against Barcelona in the Champions League last week in a man of the match performance that earned his club Ajax Amsterdam a historic 2-1 victory over Barcelona – and Steve Pienaar of Everton, are doing well for their respective clubs, and are signs that there is talent in this country.

All that PSL clubs need to do, is find it and nurture it.

Having such good talent, with a sprinkling of good foreign talent - with an emphasis on good – can only improve the standard of our soccer and thus attract more spectators.

It is high time that PSL club bosses got off their butts, marketed their clubs vigorously and stopped relying solely on the R1.5 million monthly grants and devised more ways of generating income, including attracting more spectators.

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.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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