Struggling trio proof that firing coaches can't guarantee safety in PSL

Eric Tinkler
Image: Veli Nhlapo.

As the curtain falls on the 2017-2018 season, next Saturday's, matches will be played at the same time.

The announcement this week by the PSL of the dates for the promotion-relegation play-offs is another sign that the fat lady is ready to belt it out.

Three teams, SuperSport United, Ajax Cape Town and Platinum Stars, implausibly find themselves at the wrong end of the log. The trio should be asking themselves what went wrong.

These are fairly well off sides and their players are definitely not a disgruntled lot. But as they say, money can't buy success.

Who would have imagined at the beginning of the season that SuperSport United would be perched third-last on the log and grappling with the axe if they don't win at least two of their remaining matches?

I must concede that Matsatsantsa management acted rashly by firing coach Eric Tinkler early last month.

After packing his bags, Tinkler alluded to the fact that his biggest challenge at the Tshwane club was "dealing with big personalities in the dressing room".

Assistant coach Kaitano Tembo was roped in as a caretaker coach, but it seems the ego problem remains unresolved because he has not won a league match since taking over.

With 27 matches done and dusted, and having won only six, drawing 11 and losing 10 games, things are not looking rosy.

Muhsin Ertugral has also not been the "saviour" Ajax had envisaged, following the axing of Dutchman Stanley Menzo last December.

He has only managed three wins from 14 games with the Urban Warriors that has left them second from bottom.

The Turk is staring relegation in the face in his fourth stint with his beloved Ajax.

Ajax have won seven league matches in total, drawing seven and losing 13, with 28 points in hand.

Platinum Stars, the football darlings of the platinum belt, have been beset by ownership problems. After a consortium of businessmen, led by incumbent coach Roger de Sa, bought the club for a song from Royal Bafokeng Holdings, it destabilised the team. They are bottom of the log on 21 points.

De Sa, who took over Dikwena fromPeter Butler seems to have been more preoccupied with the administration side of things, rather than on-field matters.

He has been speculating wildly of late that Stars could escape relegation if Ajax are docked three points for fielding an "illegible" player and the points are awarded to his team.

It would be a travesty if the league championship is decided in the boardroom, with second-placed Orlando Pirates and wooden-spooners Dikwena being awarded three points at the expense of Ajax. Stars only won four times this season.

*At the top of the log standings, Mamelodi Sundowns could be crowned the PSL champions if they beat Maritzburg United away, and title-chasers Pirates fail to get maximum points in their clash with Bidvest Wits.

Both matches are on Wednesday night.

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