Get ready for an exciting PSL finale

S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

South African soccer followers must have turned green with envy as they watched some exhilarating English Premiership soccer over the festive season.

Those same supporters must be licking their lips in anticipation of what promises to be a bumper 21 weeks of football.

You see, after a short December break, which was one of many stops-and-starts in the year 2015, the Absa Premiership resumes next Friday with a mouth-watering encounter between Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic.

That match will be a precursor to a full fixture that will see all PSL clubs return to action with the Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns game being the top liner.

The two sides will be doing it again less than a month following the Telkom Cup final on Reconciliation Day, in which The Brazilians humiliated Amakhosi 3-1 to be crowned champions.

Besides the league action, there is still one more cup competition to be slotted  into the remaining 21-odd weeks of this season.

That is the Nedbank Cup.

This cup can be viewed as probably the last chance for Chiefs coach Steve Komphela and his Orlando Pirates peer Eric Tinkler to salvage their jobs. That is if they are going to last until the competition starts.

As things stand, the two were walking the proverbial plank when the season went into recess with Komphela losing the Telkom Cup, his second final loss in three months as he had come short in the MTN8 final where his club succumbed 1-0 to Ajax Cape and Tinkler's charges lost in the CAF Confederation Cup final.

Going into 2016, it still remains to be seen whether their respective bosses will still give them the same support they did in the past year.

Looking at the league race, it is going to be interesting looking at say the top five clubs who all have a chance to clinch it as well as the bottom five where any one of them can suffer the dreaded drop to the National First Division (NFD).

The fact that there are only six points between the top five clubs Sundowns (26) Bidvest Wits (26) Mpumalanga Black Aces (24), Chiefs (21) and Platinum Stars (19), tells an interesting story that points to an exciting finish.

Also, Wits coach Gavin Hunt has three league titles won with SuperSport United while Mosimane has tasted the championship with the same Sundowns two seasons ago.

And how Muhsin Ertugral (Aces) and Cavin Johnson (Stars) would like to put their own marker, let alone Komphela.

Add in the mix that four-time league championship winning coach Gordon Igesund is sitting a mere 10 points below joint leaders Sundowns and Wits at No 8 on the log, then you are assured of a humdinger race leading to the finale in May.

Maritzburg United, University of Pretoria, Jomo Cosmos and surprisingly Pirates, have it all to fight for to avoid relegation.

The Team of Choice has only gathered six, AmaTuks the same number, with Cosmos having collected only 10  while Pirates have a measly 11 from 10 games and are sitting in position 13.

Ajax are also not out of the woods as they have the same number of points with Pirates from the same number of outings.

So whoever come in at Maritzburg as coach, Sammy Troughton at AmaTuks, Jomo Sono at Cosmos and Tinkler, have their work cut out for them in the dogfight to avoid the dreaded drop into the NFD, forever a poor cousin of the elite league.

It's sure gonna be an interesting 21 weeks.

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.

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