Elevation

South African football teams performed beyond EXPECTATIO­N

- By Esethu Njenjani

The 2020/2021 season was unlike any other season, it was a season filled the unexpected and unfortunat­e events, as Covid-19 cases continued at an excessive rate, claiming lives and making it hard for soccer teams to operate in normal conditions. Amid the pandemic, South African football teams continued to with their season as scheduled but under strict covid 19 regulation­s.

Photo by Connor Coyne on Unsplasha

Amazulu FC is one of the teams that performed beyond expectatio­ns. Amazulu FC finished the 2019/2020 season in the bottom 8 and it was one of the teams that had poor performanc­e in the 2018/2019 season. Amazulu started the 2020/2021 season with a positive attitude, when the season began its manager told the press that “We aim to finish in the top 4 and we will work hard to achieve this”. Some football fans said Amazulu couldn’t finish in the top 4 as the top 4 is usually contested by 4 South African big teams, namely, Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Supersport United, and Cape Town City. Amazulu Fc proved almost everyone wrong, they have indeed achieved their mandate as they successful­ly managed to finish the season on number 2, with only 10 points behind Mamelodi Sundowns. This was indeed history in the making for Amazalu FC.

Amazulu played 30 games, won 15 games, lost only 6, and drew 9 games. Formed in 1932 by Zulu migrant workers, the club was originally known as Zulu Royals. The club’s nickname, ‘Usuthu’, is a Zulu war cry. It was for their first time to finish the season in 2nd place.

This is a huge achievemen­t for the team and its supporters. “This team is special and if one day when I am an old man sitting at home, I will always remember this AmaZulu team for how proud I was and what these players have achieved individual­ly, and what they are achieving as a team. I am grateful and happy,” said Benni McCarthy, Amazulu head coach when asked about how he feels about his team performanc­e in the 2020/2021 season. “Hebe! Usuthu!”

This means Amazulu FC will play in the CAF champion league for the first time in history.

“This team is special and if one day when I am an old man sitting at home, I will always remember this AmaZulu team for how proud I was and what these players have achieved individual­ly, and what they are achieving as a team. I am grateful and happy,” said Benni McCarthy, Amazulu head coach when asked about how he feels about his team performanc­e in the 2020/2021 season. “Hebe! Usuthu!”

Kwazulu Natal teams will be represente­d for the first time in the CAF Champions league. KwazuluNat­al fans have declared their full support for Amazulu FC as they will be playing for the first time in the CAF Champions league.

Meanwhile, in the CAF Champions League final, the South African soccer team, Kaizer Chiefs, for the first time in history reached the final stage of the CAF champions league. They played against mighty Al Ahly of Egypt in the finals of the CAF champions league. Amakhosi went down by 3:0 against Al Ahly. This was a single-leg game.

Despite not winning the title, this was a huge milestone for Kaizer Chiefs, as it was the first time the “glamour boys of Soweto” reach the final stage of the CAF champions league. It was a challengin­g game for Kaizer Chiefs as they were playing against a well-experience­d team, Al Ahly has a record of 10 CAF Champions League titles, a record of 4 African Cup Winners’ Cup titles, and a record of 7 CAF Super Cup titles. This is a huge milestone for the club and as well the coach, Pitso Mosimane.

Pitso Mosimane first won the CAF champions league trophy with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016. This is his 3rd champions league trophy. Mosimane became the first Sub-Saharan African to coach Al Ahly, joining the Cairo giants in a bombshell move from Mamelodi Sundowns‚ where he had wrapped up a treble in the 2019-20 season‚ in September last year. Mosimane has now become the first African manager to win three Champions League titles, having won two with Al Ahly and one with Mamelodi Sundowns. Is Pitso Mosimane the Sir Alex Ferguson of African football? Will Mosimane join European football clubs in the next upcoming season? These are some questions some soccer fans ask themselves.

Al Ahly is currently on top of the log, with only 6 games away from wrapping the 2020/2021 season. As things stand, Al Ahly and Zamelek are the only two clubs chasing the trophy. Will Pitso Mosimane be able to win his 2nd league title after only two seasons he spent with them? All eyes are on the Egyptian premier league.

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