KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 23, during the National First Division first play offs match between Thanda Royal Zulu and Santos from Richards Bay Sports Stadium on May 23, 2012 in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa Photo by Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

Please, can we stop this madness! And I’m not talking about a defaced painting that had something resembling a snake dangling at the bottom of it. I’m talking about the mindless business of the promotion and relegation playoffs.

Why can’t we just have a situation where the top two teams in the National First Division go up, while the bottom two teams in the Premiership go down? As simple as that.

And I’m not just moaning because my leave has been delayed by another month, but because I think it is not fair.

The playoffs are heavily biased towards the Premiership team who finished 15th in the league. And this round-robin system makes it even harder for the two National First Division sides to make an impact, because you will always back the Premiership team to win a “mini-league”.

It’s almost like a little safety net for the PSL team, because there is such a lot at stake. The difference in the grants for the two leagues is enormous.

In the top flight, teams get about R1.5million, while in the trenches of the NFD, those sides get about R300 000 to run a football club.

If you as an owner spend a lot of money to get a competitive team together and gun for the Premiership, you run the risk of getting to the playoffs, and then have about a month less to plan for the next season.

The same goes for the Premiership side. Although they have the lifeline of the playoffs, they won’t be able to do any business during this time because they don’t know whether they are going to make it or not.

And every year there is a complaint by some team that didn’t make it, and we go through the same nonsense of trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

While there may not be less fighting if two teams go down and two go up automatically, the season is at least done.

This season Santos and Jomo Cosmos deserved to go down to the NFD, purely because they weren’t good enough to compete. And if you can’t compete, then you must go down. It’s like that in most of the world’s top leagues.

For these teams to go down, they might inadvertently also improve the standard in the lower leagues because teams know they have to work that much harder to remain in a certain league or to get promoted.

This PSL is still being run by a select group of individuals who benefit from the game, either financially or in stature.

While the league as a package is professionally run, the package on the field hasn’t improved much. I would even go as far as to say that for all the excitement this season has produced, the quality of play has taken a dip. A prime example of that is the fact that two 34-year-old players have dominated the headlines for most of the season.

The league is in danger of becoming a little lopsided, with only a select few benefitting from all the hype around it. They could argue that they are the heavy hitters, and without them, it won’t have the same appeal.

But for the good of the game, it’s time to share the wealth. And, most importantly, scrap these bloody playoffs!


@Joey7Barton (the QPR captain after 12-match ban and massive fine for his actions against Manchester City on the last day of the season): Things happen on the pitch, in the heat of battle sometimes. Not how we always plan them to happen. – Cape Times


@Joey7Barton: It’s obvious, isn’t it ...

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