NIGHT GAMES BETTER

The captains of the three leading Absa Premiership title-chasing teams agreed that playing games later during the day or at night will give fans more entertainment and a better quality of football.

The captains of the three leading Absa Premiership title-chasing teams agreed that playing games later during the day or at night will give fans more entertainment and a better quality of football.

Brett Evans, the skipper of Ajax Cape Town together with Ricardo Katza, skipper of defending champs SuperSport United and Sibusiso Mahlangu of third placed Bidvest Wits all believe that local football will improve away of the glare of the African sun.

"I like playing at night and I think the games are more enjoyable and entertaining for fans," the 26-year old Evans said. "I know of many players who enjoy night games more than day games so it would make sense to play in the evenings.

"The heat does stifle our performance and it's not an excuse. Both teams have to play on the same pitch in the same conditions and trust me, it affects both sets of players," claimed Evans, who is in his 10th season with the Cape club.

Mahlangu admitted to being drained at halftime.

"Definitely, games will improve if kick off times are moved to say 5pm or even later. It's tough running around in the hot sun," the dreadlocked midfielder said.

Katza believes later games will attract more fans . "People go shopping and generally have more things to do during the day. I think after a long day shopping with the wife and kids, guys want to relax and what better way than at a stadium watching a live game.

"It makes sense to play at night for the players too. We struggle in the heat and at night it's cooler. And from my experience players perform better (at night) and give the fans better quality football."

Evans noted that Rustenburg and Venda are the hottest places to play in South Africa and playing in African club competitions were more stifling.

Mahlangu and Katza agreed.

Temperatures have already reached 38 degrees in the Northern Province while Cape Town has had highs of 33.

"I'd say Thohoyandou is one of the hottest places at home while anywhere north of South Africa it's even hotter. It (the heat) really drains you and you have to check yourself so as not to get too tired and therefore compromise the quality of football," Evans said.

"I know a lot of players used to dread going up to Venda to play Black Leopards. You just cannot perform at your best for 45 minutes never mind a full game. The heat there saps your energy and I've seen players faint while others would ask the coach to take them off at halftime," Katza lamented.

He adds: "Cape Town is not as hot while Durban is very humid. As professionals we have to adapt and do our best but I think to improve our football later kick off times have to be used more often."

"I definitely think night games are the way to go. I think most players will agree with me when I say we prefer to play under floodlights," the Ajax veteran said.

"Fans are more lively when we play at night. It's better to play in front of people who show their passion instead of those sweating in the shade," he joked.

"I think it's advisable to play at night. We'll get more fans, we'll play better and there won't be any health risks because of playing in the sun.

Ajax drew their 14th game of the season against neighbours Santos last Wednesday night and will only start the second half of their campaign when they travel to Kwazulu-Natal to take on Maritzburg United on January 17.

SuperSport beat Orlando Pirates in another night game on Saturday to top the log table. Sapa

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