This week’s soccer buzz
● Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is apparently quaking in his boots and has hardly slept a wink as Saturday’s 2019 Afcon qualifier against world beaters Seychelles at FNB Stadium approaches.
The Briton did not inspire confidence this week when he suggested to an incredulous gallery at Safa House that he’s approaching this encounter against the 189th-ranked islanders with the same caution you would normally reserve for a grumpy tiger in the wild. Seriously coach, it’s come to this now? Granted, Bafana have the coordination of a goat on stilettos these days but surely, coach, you are not recommending that we, as longsuffering fans, should keep our high blood pressure pills within reach even for the likes of Seychelles?
● So petrified is Baxsteen of Seychelles, he decided to strengthen his squad by calling Aubrey Modiba two days after announcing the squad on Monday. It is clear Stu thought the names he read out were mincemeat and felt the need to add some beef, drawn from his favourite SuperSport United refrigerator.
● Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas cut the figure of an undertaker. After smiling for the flashing cameras for grabbing the Coach of the Month accolade alongside his Messi, Khama Billiat, who won the Player of the Month award, Solinas soon switched into a sombre mood. Looking ahead to Amakhosi’s next match against Polokwane City, which was played behind closed doors at Moses Mabhida Stadium as punishment for Chiefs’ violent behaviour at the same venue in April, Solinas squirmed: “In my opinion football without fans is a funeral.” See you at a graveyard near you, Gio.
● The sight of Bloemfontein Celtic supporters doing what they do best, singing their lungs out, following their side’s goalless draw with Mamelodi Sundowns at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium was awe-inspiring stuff. Celtic coach Steve Komphela and his counterpart, Pitso Mosimane, soaked in the adulation from the stands. “Spine tingling scenes out in Bloemfontein,“screamed the Sundowns twitter account, and rightfully so. Tsamaya couldn’t help but notice that coach Pitso’s dance moves need to be upgraded to the lofty level of his coaching.
● It’s not an everyday occurrence in SA football to have crowds filling stadiums in midweek games. But that’s exactly what we saw at Makhulong and Thohoyandou stadiums this week, and Tsamaya is compelled to applaud. If only the serial waster of sitters, Pule Ekstein, could have rewarded those fans with a goal in Makhulong when he was put through by Siphelele Ntshangase in Chiefs’ goalless draw against Highlands Park.
● We’re so grateful that the players’ union, Safpu, has finally woken up from its long slumber. The union has already delivered a sucker punch to AmaZulu on their case against Namibian player Phinheas Nambandi. Next in line is Polokwane City, who are foolishly resisting paying their former Senegalese striker, Faye Baptiste. Take them Safpu!