PSL to rejig fixtures to fit in CAF dates

Downs' goalie Denis Onyango and his teammates will have to contend with a congested fixture after postponements of their games. /Muzi Ntombela / BackpagePix
Downs' goalie Denis Onyango and his teammates will have to contend with a congested fixture after postponements of their games. /Muzi Ntombela / BackpagePix

A bungle from CAF in their recent draw has forced the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to make some changes to the Absa Premiership fixture schedule.

South Africa is represented by four clubs in CAF competitions with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates partaking in the Champions League while Free State Stars and Kaizer Chiefs in the Confederation Cup.

Sundowns were drawn to play Leones Vegatarianos from Equatorial Guinea in the preliminary round first-leg on November 27/28, but that date clashes with their league fixture against Black Leopards in Thohoyandou on November 28.

The Brazilians also have a league game against Maritzburg United on December 4 which clashes with the second-leg CAF game.

PSL official Selwyn van Wyk confirmed that they were caught by surprise to find that Sundowns would play in the CAF preliminary round.

"CAF changed their structure all of a sudden, so a number of teams that were seeded in the past were no longer seeded and have to play in the preliminary round," Van Wyk told Sowetan.

"We will have to find them a new date for those two games against Leopards and Maritzburg. As you can see, Chiefs, Pirates and Stars have currently played more games in the league unlike Sundowns. This was done with CAF competition in mind, only to find that Sundowns too have to play in the preliminary stage."

Legal and commercial manager at Sundowns Yogesh Singh conceded that they were also caught unawares by the draw.

"Nobody expected this and it means two extra games on the programme and that comes with long travelling hours to Equatorial Guinea and so on," Singh said.

SA clubs are in for a gruelling festive period juggling their domestic obligations and the CAF.

In some instances they will only have three days' rest between games. Chiefs and Pirates will only have three days between their Telkom Knockout semifinal clash in Durban and their opening CAF games.

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