OPINION: Safa, PSL must follow Bundesliga's lead

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published May 18, 2020

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The Germans just had to be the first to do it, didn’t they?

It’s been almost a decade since Germany stole the hearts of football fans, displaying the talents of their young players during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Sure, they didn’t win the tournament but isn’t it incredible that that generation went all the way at the next World Cup in Brazil?

Yes, their title defence in Russia in 2018 was poor as they were eliminated in the group stage, but you can’t deny that German football looks after us football-loving people.

And so it was that the Bundesliga delivered us out of our Covid-19-induced misery, as the German top-flight became the first major European league to resume their domestic season behind closed doors on Saturday.

The scenes were different from the usual considering that the stands were empty, while the substitutes, technical team members in both dugouts and the fourth official had to wear face masks. But who doesn’t savour live football after being deprived of it for so long?

I know, for sure, I did. Yours truly watched Borussia Dortmund as they kept the pressure on log leaders Bayern Munich by thrashing bitter rivals Schalke 4-0 thanks to yet another world-class performance by Norwegian international Erling Haaland.

The 19-year-old scored his 16th league goal for the German giants in 14 matches, while Raphael Guerreiro scored a brace and Thorgan Hazard completed the rout.

With no single supporter in sight and communication between the players audible, it was almost a training session that went well for Dortmund as they combined to teach their opponents a lesson.

Mihlali Baleka

Whether played in front of a full house or behind closed doors, every supporter of the beautiful game is undoubtedly thrilled that football is back on our TV screens.

To the fans of teams fighting relegation or chasing the championship, it was certainly fulfilling that the resumption of football was inevitable.

However, the complete cancellation of leagues has been double-edged for some of Bafana Bafana’s players. Bongani Zungu’s team Amiens were relegated from Ligue 1 after the French government decided to call the season off.

Meanwhile, Percy Tau was on the fortunate end as Club Brugge were crowned champions of the Jupiler Pro League - the Belgian Premier League - after their season was completely called off.

Many South Africans will be hoping that Safa and the PSL will follow in the footsteps of the Bundesliga in ensuring that the season is completed - even if it is behind closed doors - with Kaizer Chiefs leading defending champions Mameodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand, by four points.

Just like at the top, there is still hope for most of the teams in and around the relegation zone; basement dwellers Black Leopards are merely three points adrift of 13th-placed Baroka FC.

And just as the football fraternity were upbeat about the return of football in Germany, we can only hope that Safa and the PSL, through their joint liaison committee, will come to a unanimous decision on when and how football can resume in SA and the government will give the green light.


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