THE LEAGUE RACE
If truth be told, the result against Vasco Da Gama was nothing but a loss of focus on the league encounter.
Our lads were undoubtedly preoccupied on the looming cup final against Orlando Pirates; a factor that weighed heavily on the evening match. On the other hand, it was obvious that we took a gamble that caused us the match; a factor that did not auger well with out seasonal objective of lifting the coveted Premiership trophy.
Truth is, all matches are important and none may be trivialized by virtue of being played before any other cup final for that matter. As competitor we expect players to show the same commitment they would.
Looking into the match, we could have taken early leads had we taken our chances but our lads seemed to have reclined into a low gear that literally gave the match away. One would also suspect a lack of respect on our opponents; a factor that should immediately be addressed. For us the league trophy is still the primary target and losing such vital points may come to haunt us in the future. Congratulations to Vasco Da Gama for a match well played.
This weekend we engage Orlando Pirates in an epic battle that has raised all manner of tensions even long before the whistle for kickoff is blown. This is the ultimate mountain to climb considering the recent outcomes of the matches played between the two teams. Played well, the clash is likely to rekindle the erstwhile spirit of a derby; this time in a cup final that has eluded us since the 2005/6 season.
I hope both teams play to their strength to present our supporters with a Christmas present to be remembered long thereafter.
Barcelona’s drubbing of Real Madrid is definitely a rewriting of football tactics and technical history more than being remembered for the five goals it produced. Whereas popular belief still holds that the size of the player still rules as criteria for selection, Barca’s “midgets” dismissed that myth by turning their opponents into observers.
Short in stature yet pacier, more intelligent and obviously more physically fit than their opponents, the likes of Messi, Xabi, Iniesta, Villa and Pedro confirmed once and for all that size in football does not matter at all.
Their tactical and technical superiority over their much physically endowed opponents crowned an evening of soccer that had almost captivated the attention of millions of football lovers throughout the world.
Closer to home, we have witnessed the culling of short yet talented players whose career was ended by coaches that still embraced the myth around size. In West Africa and several countries where the criteria still continues to compromise talent, there is no tangible achievement on record. Undoubtedly, Barcelona had all systems working for them with the players executing an embarrassment to an otherwise equally gifted team.
I believe they have managed to challenge technical teams to reconsider their selection criteria and completely changed the football landscape that has regrettably seen other teams stopping the flow of players and their personal expression on the field. Such defensive tactics have often rendered players robotic and lacking in intelligence to entertain supporters. The recent Spanish match may therefore not be labeled the match of the century but certainly one that would be remembered for redressing the myth around size in football.
Interestingly, South African critics have begun using this particular clash to compare our standard with those in Europe. This is so unnecessary because we have our own dynamics that influence our style. I believe we will one day play to their standards since football continue to evolve with times.
I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family of Joe Gumede, a reputable boxing promoter that staged many memorable fights that provided an alternative to football in the past. I thank him for the contribution he made in sports despite the socio-political challenges of the times. May His family be healed.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)