Unpredictability fuels league excitement
That's how many commentators described the SA Premiership photo finish last season. That was the most heart-stirring seen in many years. Indeed, it was dramatic as the champions were only decided with five minutes of play remaining.
Orlando Pirates took the honours, thanks to substitute Isaac Chansa's strike from 25m out in the 85th minute as they beat an obdurate Lamontville Golden Arrows side 2-1.
The clincher sent the nearly 20,000-strong home crowd at Orlando Stadium into raptures.
Ajax Cape Town, who went into their final match on top of the log on 59 points knowing nothing less than a win would earn them the championship, managed only a 2-all stalemate against Maritzburg United.
The Buccaneers went into their last match on 57 points.
Kaizer Chiefs were on 56 points before their final encounter against AmaZulu and their 2-1 success against Usuthu at Moses Mabhida Stadium in that simultaneous fixture was not enough to catapult them to the top of the table as they remained third on 59 points.
Pirates and Ajax finished tied on 60 points but Bucs were crowned champions, thanks to a four-goal advantage.
Predicting the champions in the run-in last term proved to be a mammoth task, and finding a supporter at this time of the campaign who will say with conviction who will clinch it on May 19 is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
That is how unpredictable the PSL title has become recently.
Will it be Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United or Moroka Swallows who will win it this season?
The above teams can rule Free State Stars out at their peril!
They can also ill-afford to write off Kaizer Chiefs as they are mathematically still in the race, though Amakhosi are facing a tall order, after painting themselves into a corner with recent poor results.
But I prefer not to focus too much on permutations because football is known for its surprises the world over.
And the man who knows this is PSL public relations manager Altaaf Kazi, whose arm I could not twist to make a prediction yesterday.
Kazi would also not be drawn on how many championship trophies they will be taking to matches involving potential title winners on May 19.
He said their sponsors, Absa, will decide on this one sometime next week.
Last year they had two - the genuine one in Cape Town and the replica in Orlando - but they might as well have more this time round.
Once again I commend the clubs for offering football enthusiasts an opportunity for another spellbinding photo finish.
I give the PSL and sponsors a pat on the back for working hard to make the Premiership a success story.
The clubs also deserve thesame, though some failed to live up to expectations when it came to dishing out enthralling matches for the paying fans.
My congratulations are already in order to whoever wins the title on May 19.
I also wish those who are involved in the relegation dogfight the best of luck.
We hope our soccer will improve by the season and 2012-13 should be better than the current one.
It's good for the beautiful game, it's good for the supporters and I have no doubt that the PSL will continue to lure more sponsors.
Who doesn't want to be associated with the winning brand?