THE LEAGUE RACE
This week we stepped backwards by surrendering six possible points after sharing spoils with Bloemfontein Celtic and losing to Golden Arrows respectively.
Whilst losing and drawing is a common feature of any league programme, it is always regrettable when we don’t maximize every opportunity to come a level better than opposition that seems beatable particularly in the early stages of the league race.
Experience has taught us that we tend to wish for such points when they matter most towards the end of the race when every team jostles for an opportunity to conquer the peak of the log.
Whilst I acknowledge that no team enters the battle field with a mentality of a loser, I believe our history of achievement has always played a pivotal role in creating a lot of expectations for most of our loyal supporters such that the dropping of points is unwelcome regardless of the nature of opposition.
This has been our driver since inception and no amount of excuse can sooth the already compromised feelings of most of our family members.
It is for that reason we must constantly rally behind our team instead of falling into the temptation of demeaning their efforts every time we end on the wrong side of the stick.
It would help us to understand that the league race is a marathon naturally infused with highs and lows that each team will experience before the crowing moment of any champion.
Against Celtic we came against a strong tide of a local wave that did not want to disappoint its masses by being defensive in the first half of the game.
Their attacks could be counted whilst we probed their danger area on numerous occasion to register a goal. We were also able to easily contain their sporadic onslaught by being tight at the back as evidenced by our goalkeeping department’s going on for longer periods without breaking a sweat.
Our sojourn to Peter Mokaba against a struggling Golden Arrows was expected to redeem our efforts but fate determined otherwise much to the disappointment of our local supporters.
This time we gave away an easy first goal and seemed to have lulled into defensive slumber when their second goal kissed our net.
I would have also expected our offensive players to torment their defense but we lost the paddle just when we approached their eighteen yards much to our dismay. I also don’t think we were intent on taking shots by being indecisive when such opportunities prevailed.
Thanks to the halftime pep talk, the Technical Team did well to remind our players that they could rattle the net from outside instead of weaving their way through a packed defense.
This proved a good approach when substitute George Lebese fired to reduce the margin early in the second half. At this stage it seemed that our lads had found their rhythm and could have equalized had they again been cautious of numerous opportunities that went begging for decisions.
We however took the foot off the paddle and went onto miss a penalty that could have easily saved our blushes by securing a draw.
Again I must state that no match is meant to be easy and midweek in Polokwane was just not our day. I however hope that the week long break gives us an opportunity to regroup and find a renewed approach to our forthcoming games.
Let me also thank our supporters for turning in numbers during a midweek encounter particularly in that part of the country.
I must also applaud the Marketing Department for taking a decisive stand on fighting the production of counterfeit goods. We have repeatedly cautioned that the illegal production of goods violates and demeans our brand to massive loss of revenue and credibility of our enterprises.
I believe we have bravely set in motion a challenge to anybody that identifies with our brand to proactively assist us in squashing these ill practices.
We are also mindful that the bigger threat comes from the manufacturers of these items and as such we call for authorities to assist in the fight.
AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Whilst it calls for celebration CAF’s consideration of South Africa to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations due to the unrest in Lybia, I believe we should be cautious with our reaction but challenge football international to be more visible to sing in unison the condemnation of the socio political misfortune in that region.
We should also be mindful that our official time was intended for 2017 with Nigeria and Algeria agreeing for a swap of dates since it seemed we were more capable following our recent successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA world Cup. In any case I am quite content with the decision and hope that football emerges victorious as a unifier of nations.
I also believe that our incumbent clash against Sierra Leone at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga is a do-or-die epic battle for our AFCON qualifier.
Our lads together with the technical must surely go for broke to redeem our stature since we did not play in the recent tournament before the World Cup.
The gesture by SAFA and PSL to donate a million rand and an additional 10% of the gate takings is also a noble and humanitarian decision to join the Horn of Africa Relief Efforts in strife torn Somalia.
I just hope we continue to demonstrate the potential that soccer has to play a role beyond that of entertainment and fun.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)