Let the fairy tale con­tinue

From goal­keep­ers scor­ing goals to mis­fir­ing strik­ers, the first half of the sea­son had all the in­gre­di­ents of a great one, writes Ti­mothy Molobi

CityPress - - Sport -

The first half of what has been an un­be­liev­able Absa Premier­ship sea­son is done and dusted for some clubs while oth­ers are still to reach mid­way.

The only good thing about Baroka FC in their maiden sea­son in the Premier­ship was their goal­keeper Os­carine Ma­su­luke mak­ing in­ter­na­tional head­lines after his last-minute strike earned them a draw.

High­lands Park goal­keeper Ta­puwa Kap­ini also made head­lines after reg­is­ter­ing his name on the score sheet as well but his side strug­gled to ad­just to life in the top-flight league.

Over­all, the two new­com­ers had an open­ing half to for­get and need some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary if they are not to go back to the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion next sea­son.

But the story of the first half has to be that of Cape Town City, who have sur­prised ev­ery­body so far. Theirs has been a fairy tale of a story as, six months in the mak­ing, they al­ready have a tro­phy in the bag and sit pretty on the log – only goal dif­fer­ence sep­a­rat­ing them from the top two.

With no clear favourite half way through the sea­son, the first half of the sea­son has dished out some en­ter­tain­ing brand of foot­ball and some not so en­tic­ing.

Orlando Pi­rates striker Tendai Ndoro took off like a bul­let when he scored a hat-trick against Golden Ar­rows in the open­ing match of the sea­son and he has not looked back since. He is lead­ing the scor­ing charts on 11 goals.

But there is a long way to go and the sec­ond half prom­ises to be even more en­ter­tain­ing, gru­elling and chal­leng­ing.

De­spite the stop-go pro­gramme, the first half of the sea­son has given us an idea of what to ex­pect in the home stretch that is the sec­ond half – and a grand­stand fin­ish to the cam­paign is a pos­si­bil­ity.

The first five months of the sea­son have lit­er­ally given ev­ery­thing a foot­ball fan could have ex­pected, thus liv­ing up to its billing as the best league on the con­ti­nent.

Eight coaches have al­ready been shown the doors at seven clubs and it does not look like the end. Free State Stars are al­ready on their third coach fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of French­man De­nis Lav­agne and Ital­ian Gio­vanni Soli­nas. They have now de­cided lo­cal is lekker as they went for their for­mer cap­tain Ser­ame Let­soaka.

There could be more coach­ing ca­su­al­ties be­fore the end of the sea­son if re­sults are still not forth­com­ing for cer­tain clubs. But as is al­ways the case in South African foot­ball – some of the fired coaches have al­ready been re­cy­cled with for­mer Ajax Cape Town Roger De Sá join­ing Mar­itzburg United and Let­soaka mak­ing a short trip from Bloem­fontein Celtic to Stars. So far noth­ing sep­a­rates the top three teams – Su­perS­port United, Bid­vest Wits and Cape Town City – and with de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs al­ready lurk­ing not far off with six games in hand. How­ever, noth­ing is set­tled as yet as there is still a long way to go. The title race is wide open and the rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle has most teams in the bot­tom half keep­ing a look over their shoul­ders. It is not sur­pris­ing that the two pro­moted sides – Baroka and High­lands Park – are oc­cu­py­ing the last two spots after find­ing life too hard in the Premier­ship. Stars are on their third coach al­ready while Baroka have just en­listed the ser­vices of new coach Ja­cob Sakala and tech­ni­cal direc­tor Mark Har­ri­son. These are signs of des­per­a­tion, but this is hardly sur­pris­ing in the league as coaches do not nor­mally last. The sec­ond half league marathon starts on Tues­day. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Su­perS­port United Bid­vest Wits Cape Town City Kaizer Chiefs Polok­wane City Golden Ar­rows Mamelodi Sun­downs Mar­itzburg United Ajax Cape Town Orlando Pi­rates Chippa United Bloem­fontein Celtic Plat­inum Stars Free State Stars High­lands Park Baroka FC 14 13 15 15 15 15 9 15 15 13 14 14 14 15 15 15 6 7 7 6 5 5 6 4 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2

PHOTO: DIRK KOTZE / GALLO IMAGES

GOAL POACHER Baroka FC goal­keeper Os­carine Ma­su­luke

PHOTO: PHILIP MAETA / GALLO IMAGES

IN­STANT HIT Tendai Ndoro is lead­ing the scor­ing charts with 11 goals

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