Caf's last-minute decision throws PSL fixtures into chaos
The Absa premiership fixtures have been thrown into turmoil by a last-minute decision to change the dates of the group matches of both the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup.
It directly affects both Bidvest Wits and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns and could have a profound impact on the how the PSL title chase turns out.
PSL officials will have to scramble this week to re-arrange fixtures in the wake of the decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf)‚ who have now turned the group phase of both competitions into a two-month event.
Sundowns are competing in Group C of the Champions League against Algeria’s USM Algeria‚ Angola’s Petro Atletico and perennial rivals Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Bidvest Wits‚ who are through to the group phase for the first time‚ are in Group C of the African Confederation Cup and take on Al Nasr (Libya)‚ Djoliba of Mali and Guinea’s Horoya.
The start of the group phase of both competitions‚ set for this coming weekend‚ is not affected by the changes‚ as is the case with the next two rounds in December.
But the final three matchdays‚ set for February and March‚ will now be crammed into January and the first two days of February.
The quarter-final draw is being brought forward a full month to February 9 and the knockout phase commences now at the end of February rather than in April as previously scheduled.
This is as a result of Caf’s decision last week to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN-2020) in Cameroon in April and because no club competition matches can be played at the same time as the tournament‚ a new calendar for both the Champions League and Confederation Cup has had to be drawn up.
Sundowns and Wits will have to postpone most of their PSL games in January and then find alternate dates to play them.
There is likely a scenario where league leaders Chiefs will continue a measured programme of domestic fixtures and two of their realistic challengers are now condemned to a frenetic catch-up programme.
The two legs of the semifinals now take place over the first two weekends of May with the finals at the end of the month.
Caf are introducing a single final at a neutral venue for the first time for both competitions.
The Confederation Cup final is on May 24 and the Champions League final on May 29‚ but the venues are yet to be settled.
Match day 1: Nov 29-Dec 1
Match day 2: Dec 6-8
Match day 3: Dec 27-29
Match day 4: Jan 10-12
Match day 5: Jan 24-26
Match day 6: Jan 31-Feb 2
Quarter-final first leg: Feb 28-March 1
Quarter-final second leg: March 6-8
Semi-final first leg: May 1-3
Semi-final first leg: May 8-10
Confederation Cup final: May 24
Champions League final: May 29