Bless the beautiful game of soccer
The football season came to an end on Saturday afternoon, but that doesn't mean the soccer stops.
It never does, but then rugby and cricket have also long since abandoned the quaint concept of "seasons".
As for the football, there's a meaningless under-20 tournament on the go in Cape Town (meaningless, that is, except for those taking part and a few sycophants taking it seriously), Bafana's first step to Brazil 2014 is just around the corner, Banyana are heading for yet another training camp, and Euro 2012 kicks off next week.
The European football championship always means getting used to names you've never heard of before and discovering that Yulia Tymoshenko is not a dazzling midfielder but the imprisoned former prime minister of Ukraine, who has become a divisive figure of the tournament.
Ukraine is a host country along with Poland and will be officially snubbed by the European democracies.
Tymoshenko - she's the one with the elaborate Heidi hairstyle - has been jailed on some dodgy charges. You won't hear a peep out of Michel Platini or Sepp Blatter about her incarceration but, as a limp protest, no VIPs from the EU will watch matches in the Ukraine. That will only mean more tickets for the oligarchs.
As for the tournament itself, things don't look good for Germany, who are one of the favourites. Switzerland (the country that invented the Heidi hairstyle) beat them 5-3 on Saturday with Eren Derdiyok (see the bit about unfamiliar names above) scoring a hat-trick. Die Mannschaft were without the Bayern Munich mob, so the outcome of the weekend's friendly might be misleading. But we watch in hopeful anticipation that the Germans won't prevail in Poland again.
In other preliminaries to Euro 2012, Roy Hodgson won his first match in charge of what is now, according to Simon Kuper, a middle-class England team. (The Financial Times man was making a social observation; on the football level England will remain lower-class.)
Closer to home, it was a good end to a week that started badly for Gavin Hunt. Bullied by Irvin Khoza for something he didn't say, Hunt found himself out on a limb after his Supersport colleague Jose Ferreira questioned the still-secret and probably cheaper than the reported R1-billion sponsorship of losers Kaizer Chiefs and winners Orlando Pirates by Vodacom.
Hunt was worried that his team might lose players, while Ferreira justifiably questioned the distortion of resources that the sponsorship would create.
Hunt and Ferreira probably still believe that football in this country is about scoring goals and winning matches. It isn't. It's about selling replica jerseys, hospital plans, funeral policies (if the hospital plan doesn't work out), caps, flags, bags and, of course, cellphones.
The soccer is incidental. It's how much money club owners can make out of it that's really important. Which is why there was much pleasure to be taken from Supersport United's cup win over Mamelodi Moneybags.