Usuthu sank my heart

I have been in football long enough to know that in this game the result - under whatever circumstances - has to be accepted.

I have been in football long enough to know that in this game the result - under whatever circumstances - has to be accepted.

I have seen some appalling decisions meted out on underdogs or is it minnows? Fortunately, it is on one or two occasions that I have actually verbalised how I really feel about such injustices and it would be life as usual at the final whistle.

I must confess, though, when the ref blew for full-time in the game between AmaZulu and Black Leopards on Saturday, my heart sank to levels that very few soccer matches have managed to in the past. Full-time score, Leopards 2, AmaZulu 1 and make no mistake, Lidoda Duvha won it fair and square.

It was not the day's result that was a bitter pill to swallow more than the fact that this KwaZulu-Natal (sleeping) giant had let their fate of staying in the Premier Soccer League slip out of their hands.

Now, I was among the sceptics that believed that Dr Patrick Sokhela was a sucker to buy a PSL status (Dynamos) for R40 million in the 2006/07 off-season to revive Usuthu. Believe me, he has received some flak from those who don't think twice to jump onto a moral pedestal.

But then, when the media-shy sugar cane farmer roped in the master, Ted Dumitru - albeit a fraction too late - as technical director I stopped questioning his intent. He put the issue beyond doubt by recruiting Brazilian Julio Cesar Leal as head coach with Carlos Eduardo Parreira as his assistant.

Mind you, this after bringing on board the likes of Dennis Lota, Lucky Mzizi, Themba Mnguni to team up with the ever-green John "Shoes" Mosheou.

This experience plus carefully handpicked, highly talented youngsters equals an enterprising team that does not deserve to be languishing at the bottom of the table, let alone the humiliation of the Mvela Platinum playoffs. We are talking here of an institution that was formed back in 1932, five years before Soweto giants Orlando Pirates came into being.

These are the 1972 NPSL champions, the 1992 Coca-Cola Cup champions and a team that never missed qualification for the pre-season Charity Cup because of its popularity. The pride of the most populated province in South Africa.

It is sad that Usuthu will now have to rely on Mamelodi Sundowns to do them a favour and beat Benoni Premier United in Germiston next Sunday. I am no AmaZulu supporter, only one who appreciates what they bring to the South African football table. And yes, I would like to see Sibusiso Ntuli, Thabiso Senamela, Siphesihle Ngobese and Mzizi playing under Leal and Parreira with Dumitru running an eye over things in the PSL next season.