OPINION - We welcome the return of soccer, our number one sport
CAPE TOWN - All sports fans were of course delighted when Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns kicked off “Project Restart” for the Premier Soccer League last week.
It was a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds of Covid-19. Unfortunately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Goals are what football is all about, even in front of empty stands, with fans following the action on TV.
It has been a bit of a slow restart to proceedings, with five draws recorded in the eight matches since August 11.
So when Samir Nurkovic lashed home the winner for Kaizer Chiefs against Polokwane City on Saturday, it completed a remarkable comeback and provided the spark of life that the competition has been waiting for.
We miss the Yellow Nation's electric support from the stands.⚡ Let's get behind the boys and show them this kind of support!👏— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) August 17, 2020
Show the Team that Yellow Nation love in the comments Masandawana!💛 Re Kao Fela Masandawana!💛![CDATA]>👆#Sundowns #ForeverYellow #KeepOnSupporting pic.twitter.com/gE43xDkGDW
Amakhosi scored three goals in just six minutes late in the second half at Loftus Versfeld to ensure their title challenge remains on track.
There were some worrying moments during the delay, with Chiefs fans in particular concerned about whether the season would resume at all, as there were some whispers that it could be declared null and void.
But Chiefs and Polokwane City captured the imagination in Pretoria, with the latter outfit - nicknamed “Rise and Shine” - producing a number of bright moments in the first half that saw them grab a 2-0 lead through Lesiba Nku and Jabu Maluleke.
Chiefs needed to make history by coming back from two goals down to claim the victory for the first time ever, and they did just that. Willard Katsande began the fightback, and Anthony Akumu and prolific striker Samir Nurkovic finished things off for Ernst Middendorp’s team.
The win granted Chiefs some breathing space, as it extended their advantage to six points over Sundowns, who play their game in hand against Cape Town City tonight.
It’s set to be an exciting conclusion to an elongated season, and may the best team win. But we are just delighted to see the No. 1 sport back on the pitch, even if we can’t be there in person to cheer the teams on.