One loss too much
It is unfortunate that our loss to Orlando Pirates and Sundowns has begun to invite all manner of criticism that has prematurely sealed our fate early in the season. Used as benchmarks to measure our offseason preparatory work, soccer experts are already building reservoirs of discussion topics around the caliber of our bench and that of our acquisitions; an all too familiar phenomenon in our sport this time around.
I was therefore not surprised to hear post match commentaries that suggested a review of some contracts with others still lamenting the departure of certain members of our team. Whilst I welcome criticism, may I also caution against its debilitating nature but focus on everything positive at this juncture to lift the spirits of our lads and their mentors on the lines.
Cup competitions are intense by nature and any slip in either concentration or tactical awareness would obviously grant any opposition victory on the plate. This is what befell us against Sundowns when we conceded four goals in a short space of time. We should not forget that they were obviously in their mettle to notice that we haven’t settled and capitalised quickly to send us into a first of its kind loss of this nature in our records of the PSL.
It would therefore be unfair to apportion blame on a specific department except to admit that our opposition seemed hungrier to erase memories of previous seasons. A closer look into the match would reveal that we had slid into slumber and never really forced them to commit defensive errors like they did on us. We were often too casual in our offence and occasionally came to converting the least opportunities we created.
Defensively, we literally gave away silly goals as a result of miscommunication or fatal organisation around set pieces; a factor that should not have been a determinant at this level of competition.
I must congratulate Sundowns for entering the battle field well-prepared in all tactical aspects of the game. Their game plan worked and guaranteed them a march into the semifinals of the lucrative competition.
Whilst our losses might be cause for concern, let me however call for calm and thank all our supporters that filled the Tshwane Stadium.
THE LEAGUE RACE
We kick start our league programme with an away encounter against AmaZulu at the formidable Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. This after their gutsy moral boosting performance against a visiting Manchester United in their pre-season schedule, they would obviously be tempted to impress at our expense.
My memory of Moses Mabhida can only record previous successes at this tourist site; something that we may not want to shed at this juncture.
In the meantime we have satisfactorily wiped our fateful MTN 8 by working hard to addressing the lessons gathered from that encounter. Whilst injuries to George Lebese and Siboniso Gaxa are a setback, I am rather hoping that their selected colleagues will face the coastal sojourn with equal determination to reverse our two weeks of mourning.
In addition, reports on the recovery of Siphiwe Tshabalala and Khotso Moleko are promising and so do others on players that may be itching to have a first go in their league programme.
Our ambassadors are holding fort at the tough athletic spectacle in the rainy London Olympics of 2012. Our swimmers have already bagged some medals whilst some amongst the tough track disciplines are coming against formidable competitors the likes of Bolt and others. I am happy for Oscar Pristorious for achieving a historic feat as the first double amputee athlete to compete at this level.
May we still hold our hopes for the targeted number of medals by supporting our team through and through.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)