Swallows' fairy-tale season a bright spot
SO MUCH has happened within the football fraternity lately that one should be excused for feeling like a mosquito in a nudist camp.
That then means we are going to have a potpourri of organised ideas and issues to look at and try to make sense of.
The good news should perhaps take precedence over the sad and bad.
Congratulations are then in order for the mighty Orlando Pirates for successfully defending their Premier Soccer League title and completing another treble in successive seasons.
You guys deserved it as you were simply the best.
Everybody knows that the true champions in football are those who win the marathon that's called the league.
Victory in cup competitions is just a bonus and a sometimes necessary distraction from the main course.
While it is said those who come second are actually the first losers, Moroka Swallows and their followers would be the first to deny this after turning their fortunes around in such a dramatic manner. They could be winners of the team of the season if that award still exists.
The phenomenal turnaround that the team experienced this season is the stuff of which fairy tales are made.
From being relegation candidates last season to a near championship-winning run this term makes Swallows the team of the moment and shows what good planning and strategising mean and can do.
The PSL end-of-season awards are upon us and it is going to be interesting to see how they pan out on Sunday. My money is on Swallows' staff to sweep the boards with the sensational and ageless Siyabonga "Bhele" Nomvethe probably completing a clean sweep in the individual player awards.
He has already spoken to his bank manager about the top goalscorer prize, which he won at a canter, proving once again that age is nothing but a number.
He was rewarded with a Bafana Bafana call-up by head coach Pitso Mosimane for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana next month.
All the "returnees", those from teams abroad like Benni McCarthy, Tokello Rantie, MacBeth Sibaya, Kermit Erasmus and so on really went a long way in also making the PSL one of the best in the world. The resurrection of players like Lerato Chabangu, Joseph Makhanya et al also inspired.
The sad part is that Jomo Cosmos were once again relegated to the National First Division after just one season in the elite league. Jomo Sono has promised to be back sooner than you can say "comeback", and this time with a beefed-up technical team. Jomo Cosmos played some good football this past season and that contributes to his argument that in three months they will be top of the log.
While Ezenkosi seem to be too good for the NFD they seem to be out of their depth in the upper league - and that is what Sono has to address in order to survive the hurly-burly that is PSL football.
Coming to the bad news, the spat between the Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs chairmen and SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt and chief operations officer Jose Ferreira is not good for football.
The windfall that the two clubs received from sponsors Vodacom must be lauded for its good intentions. Football needs such financial injections into the league and especially into the clubs.
On the other hand, United's concern may be right in that the sponsorship may tip the balance of the scales in favour of those with financial muscle as in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcelona, where the third-placed team in La Liga, Valencia, were a massive 34 points behind.
Just a thought.
The cellphone company's action must also be seen as a challenge to other companies. There are 14 other clubs out there. Any takers?