Forget the ugly spat that has occurred between Safa and PSL. The Absa Premiership and the Nedbank Cup semifinals are back on track.
South African football returns from its Coronavirus-enforced break after it was knocked down by the government’s national lockdown due to the spread of the deadly global virus in March. The fans are in a buoyant mood, looking forward to watching and being entertained by their idols from the comfort of their homes.
However, threatening to scupper the resumption of matches would be if teams are found to be non-complaint with the safety and health requirements, procedures and protocols as outlined by the government and the Department of Sports under Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
August 8 is the date set for the cup competition last-four round and the league restarts on August 11, behind closed doors, with only 50 people – players, the technical team members and TV crews allowed.
Soccer fans have been looking forward to this day. On Tuesday, August 11, the all-important and mouth-watering fixture resume the season when Mamelodi Sundowns take on Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium at 6pm. The following day, Kaizer Chiefs clash with Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium, also at 6pm.
There are 54 league matches to play, excluding the semi-finals and final of the cup tournament. The openers will be followed by a full round of mid-week and weekend fixtures. The first week of September is the provisional date to end the campaign for the 32 clubs in the Premiership division and the second-tier National First Division.
Setting the tone for the “return to football” was the PSL’s crucial board of governors (BoG) on Monday. Our football has a long history of divisions, and the BoG, comprising 32 club chairpersons, was split right down the middle on whether or not the 2019/20 season should go ahead or be scrapped and declared null and void.
PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza has outlined a number of reasons behinds the decision to complete the season. Pivotally, and imperative for the PSL was to prove to its sponsors its acumen to overcome adversity.
On the unprecedented cancellation of the season, he said: “Today we agreed unanimously as the board of governors that we must resume … and finish the season on the first weekend of September.
“We have informed our broadcasters and stakeholders of the return, we have informed the Gauteng MEC as the province that will be hosting the matches. I phoned the president of Safa [Danny Jordaan] to inform him that we are resuming on the 8th of August.”
On referees’ readiness, he said: “The issue of the referees has been resolved. We appreciate what Safa has done to get them ready and into their own bio-bubble before they move into the PSL one before the games can begin.”