It’s quite ironic that of the tournaments that will help South African football supporters recover from their hangover from lack of action, is known as “The Beer Cup”.
The annual Carling Black Label Cup which is contested by Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will take place at the FNB Stadium on the last Saturday of this month, July 29.
Besides giving the myriad of these two most supported football clubs an opportunity to rub off the cobwebs from the off-season, this tournament provides them with a window to peek through their famous club’s new signings.
While Pirates have been quiet on the front of friendly matches, Chiefs’ Steve Komphela has already had an opportunity to run the rule over his new recruits.
Chiefs took part and won the Bokone Bophirima Maize Meal Cup this past Saturday, beating Botswana league champions Township Rollers in the semi-finals before clinching a 1-0 victory over Free State Stars in the final of the one-day tournament.
However, Pirates have already made some impressive signings including goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands from Mamelodi Sundowns.
The two giants had a 2016/2017 season to forget.
Besides Chiefs and Free State Stars, the other Stars - Platinum Stars - participated in the Bokone Bophirima Maize Meal Cup where they were dimmed by their namesakes from the Free State in the semi-final.
Besides Cape Town City who played a friendly match against a local side last week to give new coach Benni McCarthy the taste of things to come, South African PSL clubs have have not played many pre-season matches.
This is unlike their European peers such as English Premier League sides whoare travelling extensively playing by pre-season matches across the globe, right from Asia to the United States.
In fact, besides the “Beer Cup” ... Oops! Carling Black Label Cup, there are no other high profile off-season tournaments in South Africa.
Gone are the days when we had giants such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Crystal Palace take a sojourn to this country for a an off-season kick-about.
The signing of new players has also not been as hectic as we have become used to previous seasons.
Besides Pirates, as mentioned above, reigning league champions, Bidvest Wits who grabbed free agent former Bafana Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar as well as midfielders Daylon Claasen, Kobamelo Kodisang defenders Slavko Damjanovic and Bokang Tlhone, have made some impressive signings.
But overall matters have been quiet on this front.
It is still early though to say whether this means we are still going to be exposed to the same standard we witnessed last season.
However, it would be great for football and sports lovers to see clubs break the bank every once in a while to bring players of great quality into the PSL.
I think we have been exposed to most of the same faces for quite some time ad has hardly seen young players - save for the likes of Phakamani Mahlambi and a few of his peers - come into the professional ranks and scream “watch me” through their skills.
We do need some exciting new talent, whether developed locally or brought from abroad, just to shake things up a little.
Is there anyone out there up to the challenge?
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 over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.
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