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Kaizer Chiefs

Why and how the PSL can give Kaizer Chiefs a break

20:37 SAST 2021/12/08
FNB Stadium
After failing to pitch for Saturday’s home game against Cape Town City, the Glamour Boys are set to miss the clash with Golden Arrows in Durban

Kaizer Chiefs’ withdrawal from their two most recent fixtures due to a Covid-19 outbreak has left the PSL in disarray and could also completely derail Amakhosi’s season.

One can understand that the PSL allowing Chiefs to dictate when they can and can’t play, could set a precedent for other teams to follow, which could result in things getting very messy indeed.

However, these are exceptional times after all and no-one could have imagined a couple of years ago just how much the pandemic would change the entire world.

As such, the PSL should remain flexible, adaptable and open-minded.

So far, the PSL is yet to comment on the matter and having failed to officially call off Chiefs’ last two games, the assumption is that the Soweto side will forfeit the points.

By potentially condemning Chiefs – who claim to be trying to be doing the right thing in preventing a further spread of the disease - to losing points, they are after all in a way, even if not intended, playing down the seriousness of the Covid-19 threat.

We simply don’t know enough yet about the Omicron variant, although by all accounts, a fourth wave is underway, with Gauteng at the epicentre.

Of course, it’s possible that Chiefs, or any team, can use this to their advantage. But if they can produce test results to prove, for example, that more than 50% of their first-team squad are positive, surely that would be just cause for the PSL to consider a postponement?

There would however need to be a time limit to calling off matches – 48 to 72 hours for example, so that things such as teams flying and booking into hotels, only to find out later that the game has been called off, can be avoided.

It’s for this reason that Chiefs should indeed be docked the points from the match against Cape Town City, as they had not given advanced warning.

But for the PSL to also hand walkovers to Chiefs’ next opponents, Golden Arrows (as well as potentially after that, Sekhukhune United, Royal AM and Maritzburg United, all before the Christmas break), would be harsh indeed.

Afcon solution?

Of course, if the PSL tries to be more understanding and shows more leniency to all clubs, things could get out of hand.

But what is worth considering, is the six-week break for the 2022 Afcon.

When the PSL set out their fixtures, there had still been a chance that Bafana Bafana would qualify.

This didn’t transpire, and now effectively, there is a lengthy break to the fixture schedule which can potentially be used for catch-up games.

It’s not completely ideal in that some clubs would be missing a couple of players who have gone off to Afcon, including those from Zimbabwe and Malawi.

However, it’s also worth noting that in Zimbabwe’s most recent match, a World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia, there were only three players from the PSL including Khama Billiat, who has now retired from international football, in their matchday squad (Billiat and Kudakwashe Mahachi started, Knox Mutizwa came off the bench). The PSL representative number at Afcon will actually be negligible.

Therefore, in the midst of the most uncertain of times, why not use this six-week mid-season break to catch up on some games and to allow the affected players at Chiefs and any other clubs, a bit more time to recover?

Hopefully by then at least, the fourth wave will be subsiding and the remainder of the season can be played out without any further major hiccups.