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Lack of goals did not make 2006-07 season dull

By unknown | May 24, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

It is an indisputable fact that local strikers continue to be goal-shy, season after season.

It is an indisputable fact that local strikers continue to be goal-shy, season after season.

But we should be careful not to jump to conclusions that the standards are generally falling.

If you insist, does that mean the spectacular goals scored by midfielders and defenders (excluding own goals) went unnoticed?

My player of the season, Godfrey Sapula (Mamelodi Sundowns), undoubtedly banged in some top-class goals to set the stands aflame with excitement this past season.

How can we now say the season was flat when only at the halfway mark were there differing views as to which teams would finish in the top three and which ones would get the chop?

Sports Indaba was, however, crazy enough to even predict that it would either be Kaizer Chiefs or Sundowns, if not Orlando Pirates. This, at a time when the prophets of doom were saying Bucs were heading for the National First Division league.

Yes, we all had fun because things were peri-peri hot. Come second round, some teams got wiser.

Back to the strikers. Major weaknesses among local strikers are a lack of a killer instinct, composure in front of goal, dedication and an ambition to excel. It's therefore not wise to largely blame club bosses for showing reluctance to sign local strikers, since they also consider some of these factors.

It is also true that some of the foreigners are bad buys.

You can, however, not say the same about Kaizer Motaung's earlier decision to enlist Zambian Collins Mbesuma. Nor what Jomo Sono did when he unearthed that little dynamite called Chris Katongo, also from Zambia.

"Ntofontofo" went on to slam 25 goals in the 2004-05 season.

This time around the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot went to Katongo, who had scored 15 goals in the first round before leaving to play in Denmark at the beginning of the year.

This seems to be the main reason many say that this season was dull - all because the goals did not come from a local boy.

I disagree, more so considering that when Sundowns beat both Chiefs and Pirates, their matches produced fireworks. But it was also the case when the now relegated Maritzburg United and Benoni United, who finished 14th, shocked Bucs in the first round.

You may not have forgotten how Bloemfontein Celtic decisively dealt with teams like Chiefs and Bucs at some stage.

Moroka Swallows were at their best when they took four points in their clashes with Celtic.

Silver Stars did the same in their league encounters with the stylish Brazilians. The youthful Ajax Cape Town - under new coach of the season, Muhsin Ertugral - also proved to be too hot to handle for some opposition. Siyabonga!

As much as we need to seriously look into ways of getting our strikers to be impeccable marksmen, our situation is not necessarily a unique one.

Let's look at what has been happening in the much-publicised English league. Their top three marksmen this season were all foreigners, including our own Benni McCarthy.

Stats: Chelsea - Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) 21 goals; Blackburn - McCarthy 19; and Manchester United - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) 17. That's not all. In fact, foreigners have been dominating since the 2000-01 season.

In that season Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink of Holland led with 23. In 2001-02 France's Thierry Henry scored 24. In 2002-03 Ruud van Nistelrooy of Holland was tops with 25, while Henry dominated from the 2003-04 season until 2005-06 with 30, 25 and 27 goals, respectively.

Now can we really talk about "boring football" when teams like Silver Stars, under local coach Owen da Gama, proved beyond doubt that they were not in the PSL to add to the numbers by finishing second on the log?

Not only that, Stars have qualified to enter battle with Africa's giants in the much sought-after Champions League tournament after only four seasons in the premiership. With no big names for that matter. What a feat. Well done "Rubber Doll".

Of course, at some stage I did complain when Sundowns uncharacteristically dished out some skop-en-donner football.

That said, let me congratulate Gordon Igesund on winning his fourth Premiership title, with a different team, nogal. And let me also salute captain Mike Manzini who received his fourth league gold medal last night. O Boza wena! All the best in the Confederation Cup!


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