The PSL title was dramatically decided on the last day of the season. Cape Times soccer writer John Goliath looks back and selects his 11 highs and 11 lows. See if you agree with his teams.
1 Cracking goals
There were more long-range strikes in the Premiership this season than countrywide Cosatu get-togethers. Some of the balls used this season are going to need a lot of counselling in the off-season to get them ready for the new campaign, as some of them were booted with unbelievable power.
2 Return of the Mac
Benni McCarthy is brash, and devoid of any tact or sense. But that’s why we love him, because he is a showman and a character that the PSL desperately needed. Benni was great entertainment on and off the field, scoring important goals for Orlando Pirates and picking fights with youngsters after cup finals. More next season please, old chap.
3 Once, twice… five times a champion
I wish Daine Klate could play for Tottenham Hotspur, then my favourite English Premiership team would win the league every season. It seems the Orlando Pirates winger has got the special touch after winning his fifth league championship in a row. He won three with SuperSport United before winning it twice with the Buccaneers over the last two seasons. Phenomenal!
4 DVD in HD
David “DVD” Mathebula was producing low-budget performances that belied his natural ability on a football pitch. It was like Steven Spielberg making Egoli … But this season, under the tutelage of Gordon Igesund, the man put in blockbuster efforts, and was a true match-winner for Moroka Swallows. If it wasn’t for Siyabonga Nomvethe’s astonishing 20 goals this past season, “DVD” would have been the Player of the Season.
5 Old dog, same tricks
Talking about Nomvethe, rumour has it that the Birds striker is set to star in a new “forever young” product commercial. And I, for one, would buy said product if it can make me run around like a teenager. “Bhele” left young defenders for dead every time he got the ball on the run. No longer can he be called Siyabonga “Niks-werd-nie”.
6 Good business
While their fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs assembled a squad resembling the cast of a Leon Schuster candid camera movie, Orlando Pirates made some top signings, which in the end helped them to annex their second league title in a row. But while many people will look at McCarthy as the Bucs’ best piece of business, their best signing was in fact defender Siyabonga Sangweni. Besides being solid at the back, the former Golden Arrows man also scored some vital goals towards the end of the season.
7 Home sweet home of Ajax
Before this season, Ajax Cape Town were like a bunch of gypsies, making any field they could find their home. From Kimberley to Athlone to Newlands to Wellington, the Urban Warriors supporters didn’t know if they were coming or going. However, Ajax’s three-year deal with the City of Cape Town to play their games at Cape Town Stadium has seen them find a home. No more night shelters for Ajax!
8 Shining Knight…
Gordon Igesund’s smile will be my lasting memory of this past season. His teeth are so white and shiny, they remind me of the Queen of England’s set of pearls she wears around her neck. And that smile was on display for most of the season on the Swallows coach’s face, following a fantastic league run. Igesund took over last season when the Birds faced relegation, but a season later, they were still in the title race until the last day of the campaign. Hopefully, for Swallows fans, that Colgate smile comes out again next season.
9 Rodger(s) that …
If it wasn’t for Eleazar Rodgers, Santos would already be preparing for life in the National First Division right about now. His 13 league goals so far this season (Santos are still competing in the playoff) is a personal-best haul for the former track athlete after injuries plagued him over the last few seasons. His Bafana Bafana call-up was well-deserved. But will the Cape side be able to hold on to him for next season?
10 TV coverage for Africa
Hats off to the pay channel for giving the couch potato a fantastic football experience on matchdays. They have really revolutionised the broadcasting of football matches after the national broadcaster neglected the coverage of the sport for so long. Now the coverage of football is up there with the broadcasting of rugby and cricket.
11 What a finish!
This season was definitely not good for you if you suffer from high blood pressure. We had an incredible football ride this season, with late goals that caused more drama than the Spear painting. The quality of football wasn’t always that great, but no one can argue that the league is stronger than ever. I’m already looking forward to next season!
1 The Mohawk
Goodness me, was there a hairdresser somewhere who was giving PSL footballers this haircut at half-price? It must have been, because the job on their heads was only half-done! Everybody who donned this style gets a fat zero from me for originality and a further -5 for thinking it’s cool. I would rather see the perm back next season, thank you.
2 Referees’ kits
The new technical sponsor of the referees needs to rethink their kit for next season because you can’t make grown men wear something resembling pyjamas on a football field. No wonder the players don’t take them seriously, and when the people shout “referee, referee, referee”, it’s actually because it looks like their pants are about to fall down any minute.
3 Where did the quality go?
This might have been one of the most exciting league campaigns in history, but the standard of football reminded me of a kick-about game in the backyard. Some of our professional players’ first touch is almost as clumsy as a teenager on a first date, while passing a ball further than five yards seems to be near impossible. Geez, fellows, if you don’t know how to control a ball or pass it at this stage of your career, you will never be able to do it.
4 Yoyo, Jomo Sono
“We will never be relegated again!” exclaimed Jomo Sono at the end of last season, while trying to put out the fire that was busy engulfing his pants. Well, Bra Jomo lied to all of us once again, and will be heading back to the trenches of the National First Division for another season because he doesn’t trust anybody else to coach his team. It’s impossible to be the chairman, coach, groundsman and doctor at your own club. And Cosmos will keep going up and down like a yoyo if Sono doesn’t get somebody in with fresh ideas to coach the team. It’s time to let go, Bra Jomo …
5 Bigger isn’t always better
Santos boasted one of the biggest squads in the league this season, but unfortunately their play wasn’t that big on the field. The People’s Team tried to strengthen their squad after an injury crisis the season before, but that backfired as they had a lot of players on their books who contributed absolutely nothing throughout this campaign. It also didn’t help that they had three coaches during the season, but they probably needed three to be there at the same time to coach everybody …
6 Poor crowd attendances
I must admit, it gets rather creepy when you sit at a PSL match and you don’t hear a single vuvuzela in the stands, as it is weird when you can hear yourself think at a local football match. This season, the attendances around the country were poor, and probably a result of the standard on the field. The PSL need to come up with a few gimmicks next season, otherwise stadiums might be forced to play vuvuzelas over their loud speakers ...
7 Cape Town Stadium seating arrangements
Why can’t football fans sit in the seat number that appears on their ticket? And, why can’t the security and the ushers at the Mother City’s crown jewel not control who sits where at big matches? It’s truly baffling that this keeps happening at the stadium when Ajax play either Chiefs or Pirates. Please, guys, sort this out so that everyone can enjoy the matches in peace next season.
8 Kaizer Chiefs’ struggles
The family business was beaten up in the transfer market at the start of the season, and never really got off the canvas after that. The gap between them and rivals Pirates has become wider than Benni’s former waistline, as they assembled the most average squad in a long time. Hopefully, for Chiefs fans, Bobby Motaung can fight back in the transfer market before the start of next season, otherwise he too must think of doing the honourable thing and leave it to someone else.
9 Where are the characters?
South African football is lacking the dazzlers, the match-winners and go-to men of yesteryear. I’m talking about the likes of Shoes, Doctor, Ace and Marks, who used to captivate us week-in and week-out. These days we have Benni, who has enthralled us with overhead kicks and violent free kicks. But for the rest, there has been nobody who has warmed my heart quite like a Shoes pass or a Doctor dribble.
10 The curse of Teko…
Mamelodi Sundowns must be thinking of letting this boy go, because every club he leaves end up winning the Championship the next season. After he left SuperSport, they won the title three times in a row, and after leaving Pirates, the Bucs won it twice in succession. He seems to be just the opposite of Daine Klate!
11 Spread the wealth
Vodacom’s new deal with Chiefs and Pirates is a disgrace, considering that there are other teams in the league who are struggling to survive. The league is in danger of becoming lopsided, with only a couple having the spending power. Of course Chiefs and Pirates are the biggest drawcards in the league, but this is a 16-team league and not a two-team show. - Cape Times