DURBAN – This year has already been declared a write off by many but at least there have been a handful of positives to cling onto.
Liverpool, for example, have given the sporting world one of those feel good moments. The Reds have turned the disrupted English Premier League season into one for the record books, breaking their barren run with regards to winning their domestic championship.
The question is, will it also be the case in South Africa when the footballing action resumes next month? The country’s football fans this past Monday welcomed the announcement by PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza, that the league will restart on August 11.
The beautiful game has been in lockdown in South Africa for the past four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And just like at the restart of the EPL last month afforded Liverpool the chance to finally end their league drought, the return of football here will offer an opportunity for Kaizer Chiefs to continue their pursuit of the Absa Premiership.
Amakhosi have been going through a trophy drought for the past five years. Before the coronavirus struck, the Glamour Boys were flying high, and were at the summit of the table.
Liverpool ended their 30 year barren run in the league, defeating stiff competition from defending champions Manchester City, sweeping all other challengers aside, to be crowned champions.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) July 27, 2020
There’s not doubt that the Naturena faithful will be hoping the Amakhosi can replicate similar success. Amakhosi’s challenge differs slightly from Liverpool as they have a very slim gap between them and reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who are placed second. Four points separate the two clubs, and Chiefs have eight games to play, while Downs have a game in hand.
Stuart Baxter was the last man to deliver the goods for the Amakhosi back in the 2014/15 season. Steve Komphela and Giovanni Solinas couldn’t replicate the Scotsman’s efforts afterwards. German born Ernst Middendorp is now the man in charge and will be eyeing his first league triumph in South Africa.
Sundowns, meanwhile, are looking to emulate top European clubs like PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich, who have all dominated their respective leagues over the past decade.
Since Pitso Mosimane took over the coaching reins at Sundowns in 2012, they have amassed four league titles. Mosimane is gunning for the record fifth league title, which will make “Jingles” the most successful coach of the PSL era. Mosimane also remains the only black coach to win the Premiership.
On other hand, Middendorp will be looking to bring back the glory days in Naturena just like Jurgen Klopp did in Merseyside for Liverpool.
To make matters more interesting and more challenging for Chiefs, they will have to keep an eye on the other Top 8 clubs – all of which can overteke them, even if it is only mathematically – in the championship race. The two championship favourites – Chiefs and Sundowns – also still have to lock horns in the return match of the league, which could be the title decider.
The PSL will this morning hold a draw to determine the home venues of all the 32 clubs in the bio-bubble.