Johannesburg – It has almost become a norm.
Every season the second-tier league of the PSL, also known as the GladAfrica Championship, becomes embroiled in dramatic disputes pertaining to the promotion and or relegation of clubs, with matters ending up being resolved in the boardroom, rather than on the field of play.
A few days ago, Sekhukhune United were awarded three points following a disciplinary hearing since the discovery that Polokwane City failed to oblige to National Soccer League rules by not including five under-23 players on their team sheet in their GladAfrica Championship, which they initially won 1-0 in January.
In the latest saga to bedevil the national first division, Sekhukhune move to the summit of the log standings through a boardroom decision, ahead of Royal AM on goal difference, with both teams tied on 50 points apiece.
As things stand, and before this weekend’s round of matches that conclude the first division league 2020/21 season, both Babina Noko, as Sekhukhune are affectionately known, and Royal AM are in line to gain automatic promotion to the top-flight Premiership, depending on whether they win or lose their respective matches.
Over the years, the PSL has become notorious for shelving matters related to protests to the 11th hour.
This particular matter came to the fore in January but it is only being dealt with in May, at the time when clubs are fighting for promotion or staving off relegation.
Initially, the PSL disciplinary committee deducted three points from Rise and Shine and did not award them to Sekhukhune, until Babina Noko challenged the decision, arguing they had played the game under protest.
The credibility of this league has been flushed down the drain. Royal AM, who were the log leaders at the time, had to abruptly end their celebration and put the champagne on ice when Sekhukhune became overnight favourites for automatic promotion.
Royal AM, a club owned by millionaire businesswoman and reality TV star Shauwn Mkhize, must today dig deep to beat Cape Town All Stars and Sekhukhune, who will be up against JDR Stars, have an advantage of the superior goal difference of 38 strikes.
Royal AM has found the back of the net 33 times. In an unheard of, unprecedented move, the PSL executive committee met on Thursday, and issued this statement on Friday night:
“The PSL is aware of the confusion that has been created as a result of the arbitration award. The PSL is in the process of considering several options and has been communicating with all member clubs in this regard.” Is it now a case of the PSL top brass having no confidence, trust and faith in its own arbitration processes? Whatever the outcome of the latest shenanigans to afflict the national first division, the PSL’s dilly-dallying in dealing with disciplinary cases promptly has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the football-loving people of Mzansi. It is unfair to all parties involved as it took four months to be resolved, if at all it is. It has prejudiced both Polokwane and Royal AM. It is another blemish on the PSL, a league that prides itself of being well-run.
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.