Why the PSL backlog?

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
South African soccer administrators need to take a serious look at planning if our football is to go anywhere.

Right now, it is obvious that things are done haphazardly.

A quick look at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) will show that some clubs have played a mere 13 league matches, others 14 - and some 15. Orlando Pirates are the worst of the lot as they have only had eight outings in the domestic league!

The excuse that will be forwarded if you questioned this is that they took part in the CAF Champions League and reached the final thus the backlog.

I say nonsense!

And allow me to explain why I say this before you bite my head off.

The PSL prides itself for being among the Top 10 leagues in the world. The CAF Champions League has been a permanent feature on the continental calendar for years now.

So the PSL knows every year that the club that wins the league here in Mzansi will represent the country in this tournament the following year.

So the Champions League cannot be used as an excuse for a chaotic domestic programme.

A quick glance at the top European leagues will show you that despite their clubs taking part in the Champions League - which has reached the Group Stages - they have played more matches than our dear PSL.

Having played over the Christmas period, English Premiership clubs are all at 19 matches as we prepare for the New Year.

Spanish La Liga sides are on 17 games while in Germany clubs have played a total of 17 matches, the Italian Serie log standings reflect 17 matches in the played column and in France, Ligue 1 clubs have played 19 games.

What this start and stop to the season does, is create uncertainty among the football supporters who are the paying customer. They end up not knowing whether there is going to be football over the weekend or not.

And this could easily be one of the many factors contributing to the dwindling crowds at local soccer matches.

And then there is the South African Football Association (SAFA). While they are crying foul and pointing a finger at the PSL clubs that are refusing to release players for the upcoming CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN), four fingers are pointing right back at them.

For starters, they are the ones who rushed into bidding to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and we all remember that they did that without even getting government or Sascoc’s approval at the time.

They did this fully aware that the tournament (Afcon) comes as a package with the CHAN and the latter is not a FIFA-sanctioned tournament. SAFA did this fully aware of the problem they always have with PSL clubs over the Cosafa Challenge, which also does not fall under the FIFA calendar.

So how different did they think this would be?

So both SAFA and the PSL are equally to blame for the mess South African football is in, hence my call for proper planning.

The two organisations need to get their house in order, put their heads together sand work for the betterment of the game.

This will benefit all and not just a few. That’s just one of my many wishes for the New Year.

I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year as you put our football in order!

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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