COOK 7 CLARKE 9

Cape’s chal­lenge for the PSL is still go­ing strong

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

YOU of­ten hear coaches of First Di­vi­sion clubs say all they care about is scor­ing more goals than the op­po­si­tion.

For­mer Bay United coach David Bright wasn’t one for beat­ing around the bush on this mat­ter.

As far as he was con­cerned tac­tics, style of play and buildups to­wards goal mat­tered for lit­tle if the fi­nal ob­jec­tive wasn’t achieved.

Black Leop­ards coach Kostadin Papic is cut from the same cloth.

Dur­ing a post-match in­ter­view af­ter his side’s 2-1 win over log-lead­ing Cape side Mi­lano United last weekend he said: “We won be­cause we scored two goals and they scored one. How we scored them is ir­rel­e­vant, all that mat­tered was the fi­nal score, and that favoured us,”

That’s life for you in the NFD. The 16 com­pet­ing teams in the sec­ond tier of South African foot­ball have only one goal: To outdo one another in what­ever way pos­si­ble to win the league ti­tle and se­cure PSL sta­tus.

If you’re look­ing for qual­ity foot­ball, you’re in the wrong place. If you have watched an NFD match over the years you will agree that the stan­dard of play has dipped markedly.

A spec­ta­tor (a for­mer PSL player) at a re­cent match in Cape Town spec­u­lated as to why. “To­day’s play­ers are 10-fold less dis­ci­plined and have things too easy,” he said.

“Also, the in­fra­struc­ture to nur­ture tal­ent through the age groups, is all but non-ex­is­tent.

“The good old days are gone. Money, rather than skill rules the pitches.”

“It’s not that peo­ple don’t have the money to cough up the small en­try fee, they just don’t feel the fare on of­fer is wor­thy of watch­ing,” he added.

“That’s why you see empty sta­di­ums. I re­mem­ber, when grow­ing up, how full the grounds were One got to see a few games be­fore the main game and the matches pro­vided qual­ity. A re-look into the past may pro­vide an­swers to the fu­ture …”

As for the state of the game in the Cape, there’s plenty to be happy about at this level. Five teams – Mi­lano, San­tos, Chippa, Vasco da Gama and FC Cape Town – com­pete in the NFD and all, but Town, are mak­ing a bold bid for league hon­ours.

Should that play out, and there’s a real chance it will, then Cape foot­ball fans will have a sec­ond team join­ing Ajax Cape Town in the PSL next sea­son.

As things stand on the log, Mi­lano, de­spite two straight losses away from home, still en­joy a four-point lead at the top of the standings over Chippa (25), while Vasco (24) and San­tos (22) com­plete the top four.

Town, sadly, are in the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

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