When the ball is kicked to start the Absa Premiership season in a mouth-watering match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld at 3pm today, there will be a collective sigh of relief from the organisers, the Premier Soccer League, the supporters and the players.
Not in main because football fans have been starved of quality football since the World Cup ended last month – and even longer since Sundowns were crowned league champions in May – but because the threat of the league not going ahead as planned was very much a reality up until a few weeks ago.
The most part of the off-season has been dominated by the Tendai Ndoro appeal. Ajax Cape Town’s Zimbabwean striker was deemed to have broken the Fifa rule that a footballer may not play for three clubs in a single season. Ajax were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player, and subsequently docked points for their violation, which saw the Cape side being relegated.
A legal tussle ensued before Ajax gave up their fight late last month as the start of the season drew nearer. Had legal proceedings carried on, it would have created all sorts of problems.
It’s a lesson for all: the Premiership needs to make headlines on the field of play, not in the courtrooms.