Downs have been running away with the Absa Premiership title of late but it just goes to show how the competition goes up a notch in Africa’s top-tier competition.
The Zimbabwean league is perhaps underestimated a little on these shores, too, surprising given the amount of Zimbabweans who had made a major impact on the PSL over the years.
Sundowns should still turn the tie around at home, but if they don’t it will be a horrible embarrassment for a side whose coach Pitso Mosimane has been happily discussing the side’s possible opponents in later rounds, and the hope of winning the Champions League. Don’t count your chickens, Pitso.
Otherwise, it has to be said, there were very positive results for South Africa’s participants in Caf’s club competitions this weekend. Chiefs were expected to hammer Volcan de Moroni of the Comoros, but the job still had to be done, and Steve Komphela’s side are basically in the next round after a 4-0 win. The same can be said of Wits, who won 3-0 at Light Stars in the Seychelles. And perhaps the result of the weekend was Ajax’s win in Angola over Sagrada Esparanca, in a game they only decided to play at the last minute.
Roger de Sa’s side are well set now for the next round after a 2-1 win.
For Sundowns, it will be interesting to see if this defeat now impacts on their apparent cruise towards the Absa Premiership title. Balancing domestic success with continental glory is a tough ask in any league, and Mosimane still clearly needs to find the correct balance.
One side not bothered by continental competition this year is Orlando Pirates, though their struggles domestically this season are at least partly down to their journey to last year’s Caf Confederation Cup final. Pirates must now focus on climbing the league for the rest of the season, starting with Free State Stars this evening.
In Phakaaathi this week, we took a look at one of the topical issues of the week, whether referees have really earned their latest pay-rise in the Premier Soccer League. My own views on this are perhaps harsh, but I really feel our referees have not improved and if salary increases are based on merit, they do not deserve them. I would rather see the money put into better training for the referees, or into the professionalism of refereeing in this country.
Then again, if we look at the performance of Mark Clattenburg in the English Premier League this weekend, it is not as if the officiating in the rest of the world is that much better.
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