Now that the dust has somehow settled around Bafana Bafana and it’s now history that they bowed out at the quarterfinal stage of the Afcon, many will welcome the news that the Absa Premiership returns on August 3.
Over the years, I have known a number of people who suffer a serious bhabhalazi during the off season.
So for them and many others, this week’s release of the Absa Premiership and cup competition fixtures would have been sweet music to their ears, just like when a kid is told there is only “one more sleep” before Christmas.
There are several things to look forward to in a new season.
The most excitement and anxiety usually comes from the anticipation and expectation of how new signings will perform for their respective clubs.
Many a football follower has this eternal hope that their club(s) (read Kaizer Chiefs in this instance) will not only perform better than the previous season, but will lay their hands on at least one piece of the available silverware.
The late Styles Phumo once suggested that the Premier League trophy should be chopped into 16 pieces before the start of the season because “every coach vows that his club will win it”.
But before the serious business of real football kicks in, there is a smallanyana matter of the “Beer Cup” ... oops, before the sponsors, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs bosses, as well as their myriad fans guillotine me, let’s call it by it’s name – the Carling Cup – which takes place on Saturday.
And, yes, all the tickets were snatched up before you could say “Carling”, showing once more how popular this fixture is.
You can also bet your last rand, for whatever it’s worth, that, on getting hold of or hearing about the fixtures list, football supporters – especially the two giants’ followers – scanned the info to quickly find out when the two Soweto derbies will take place.
Well, these will be on November 9, with the reverse fixture pencilled in for February 29.
Aside from August 3, when the league kicks off, here are the other important dates to note:
- August 17: MTN8 kick-off;
- October 5: MTN8 final;
- October 19: Telkom Knockout kick-off;
- December 14: Telkom Knockout final;
- February 5: Nedbank Cup starts;
- May 23: Nedbank Cup final; and
- May 9: Absa Premiership ends.
Having said the above, I am one of those people looking forward to seeing what the upcoming season has in store for us.
In the same breath, I would like to appeal to every member of the local football fraternity to make sure that this becomes one of the most memorable seasons so far in our soccer history.
How can that be done?
Firstly, everyone must adopt an approach and attitude similar to what the late JF Kennedy said – that people must not ask what their country can do for them, but what they can do for her.
Secondly, to the players, I paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King – play that football like no one has before. Strive to be the best.
For our football players to provide the best entertainment, they should have the positive attitude and appreciation of the fans that famous magician David Copperfield had for his followers.
When asked what set him apart from other magicians of his era, his view was that, while others saw a packed hall and thought “here is a bunch of gullible idiots for whom I’m only going to perform a few tricks and pocket their money”, he saw people who put food on his table and vowed to give them the best possible show.
May South African players adopt this approach.
Thembinkosi Lorch did this with aplomb last season. Every time the winger took to the pitch, he gave it his all.
As a result, he was rewarded with a deserved footballer of the year accolade at the end of the season.
When fielded against Egypt at the Afcon after being benched for the first three matches, he came to the party, scoring the goal that took Bafana Bafana to the quarterfinals.
This is the kind of attitude I’m talking about.
Thirdly, to our football administrators, I say: “May you please do your best to create conducive conditions for the players to perform at the best of their abilities.”
And, finally, to the supporters, please ditch the attitude of being armchair critics and flock to the stadiums to support the players. Don’t only do it when it’s the Soweto derby!
Every football supporter should adopt the spirit of one Botha Msila.
Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku