PSL: A horrific and terrific season
The past 10 months have been quite a roller-coaster ride, from August to May. We take a look at some of the outstanding, good and bad moments
1) Who can forget Percy Tau's incredible run in a league encounter against Cape Town City in Cape Town on February 2? Tau received a pass just outside the halfway line on the left side of the field and had to beat three City defenders before appearing as if he was falling and losing the ball, only to scoop it with his left foot, lob it with his right for Khama Billiat to volley it home to give Sundowns a 1-0 victory. It's moments like these which have made Tau a shoo-in for the Absa Premiership's Player and Player's Player Award this season.2) Not many soccer pundits would have foreseen the kind of season Maritzburg United and Free State Stars have had. Both these clubs are normally associated with relegation battles but young Fadlu Davids (36) at Maritzburg and Belgian Luc Eymael at Stars have not only ensured they finish inside the top eight, they did wonders in a cup competition as well. Maritzburg are meeting Stars in the Nedbank Cup final in Cape Town on Saturday - their first cup final - and Stars are appearing for the first time since 1994.
3) Orlando Pirates' 3-1 league victory over bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs in March will remain as one of the most exciting Soweto derbies of recent times. Luvuyo Memela's second-half brace after coming on at the restart of the game helped to revive the interest in this massive clash. A number of successive derbies ending in dull draws had created doubts about the magnitude of this match. It was not only the four goals that were scored, but the electric atmosphere, energy and the relentless attacks from both sides that left an indelible mark on those who were watching.
4) In a season in which we have seen football fans behaving in a disgusting and barbaric manner when the results didn't go their team's way, Mamelodi Sundowns supporters must be commended for their exemplary conduct. It was not only when the Brazilians won that we saw the yellow brigade clapping hands, singing and saluting their players after the games. The way Sundowns fans showed appreciation to their players was a firm reminder of how beautiful a game of football can be. Long may it continue.
5) When we rave about the best players this season we can't ignore the efforts of Orlando Pirates midfielder Musa Nyatama, who got no less than seven man-of-the-match awards in his maiden season with the Buccaneers. The revolution that we witnessed at Pirates this season had Nyatama as its main orchestrator. We saw Nyatama getting many assists to his teammates while also chipping in with some vital goals to help his club finish second behind Sundowns, recovering from the horror show of last season in which Bucs finished 11th.
1) There's nothing more disgraceful than the Moses Mabhida disaster, the ugliest of scenes witnessed in PSL matches this season. Damage to an estimated R2.6-million was done to the Durban stadium by the so-called Kaizer Chiefs supporters who couldn't stomach the 2-0 defeat inflicted by Free State Stars in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup. Nothing could justify the hooligans' conduct, which was mainly fuelled by the club's refusal to sack coach Steve Komphela.2) Komphela's exit at Chiefs was as bad as his record on the field of play. What was amazing though was Komphela's pronouncement on the eve of the Mabhida disaster. He told the media that Chiefs were finally at the stage of performing - three years after his arrival at Naturena. That Komphela didn't see the writing on the wall has to rate among the poorest of his judgements. He simply failed to arouse Chiefs into a winning unit even after decent players were added to his squad in January.
3) That up until now the PSL has failed to bring closure to the Tendai Ndoro saga, is clear testimony to its ineffectiveness when it comes to critical aspects of its administration. The Ndoro issue is now threatening to derail the promotion/relegation play-offs scheduled to start on May 16. None of this is surprising when you realise it is now close to three years that the PSL has failed to appoint a permanent chief executive.
4) Disaster did not strike only once at Maritzburg United this season, with the club recently mourning the death of young player Luyanda Ntshangase (21), who was struck by lightning while at training in March. In total, Maritzburg have lost three players in three years if you bear in mind that Mondli Cele (27) died in January 2016 and Mlondi Dlamini (20) followed in October. Both players were killed in car accidents.
5) Platinum Stars' exit from the PSL has to rate among the poor ones. The Phokeng community of Rustenburg are the most heartbroken of souls, having also witnessed the club being sold in the most secretive of deals. The talk of Dikwen possibly relocating to another city must have added more insult to the injury...