Mon, 10 Aug 2020

PSL's perplexing return to action puzzle

07 Jul 2020, 04:12 GMT+10

The PSL and local government are probing solutions to resuming the Absa Premiership.North West and KwaZulu-Natal appear the likely host provinces should the green light be given for a return to action.But as coronavirus cases spike in the country, it remains to be seen whether soccer fans will see any action soon.

With many of the top leagues in Europe and elsewhere now back in swing, the PSL and local government remain locked in a perplexing puzzle potpourri in deciding how, when, where and even if the Absa Premiership will be completed.

And the latest development is that most clubs are now leaning towards Durban and adjoining areas as a potential centralised venue for the remaining games and the runaway spike of coronavirus infections over the last two weeks raising cases to a grim South Africa record number of 196 750 overall, with 3 199 deaths a new potential complication.

Initially the suggestion was raised by the North West province itself, with Sun City as the focal housing venue for the 16 Premiership clubs, as an ideal venue to complete the PSL programme.

The low number of coronavirus cases in the North West province was raised as a further factor for the PSL to "go North West, man", but it has since been pointed out that there is only one major venue in the area suited for frontline games - and this would not adequately cater for what is bound to be a vastly congested programme, even if fixtures are completed without crowds because of the ongoing pandemic.

The suggestion that some games could be staged in Gauteng has been knocked down with the alarming outbreak of coronavirus cases in the province - a record 5 042 in one day over the weekend alone.

The Durban area, in contrast, has four top-scale playing venues and with inland provinces undergoing a blistering, frosty winter, can boast a climate far better suited for the testing task ahead.

If the overdue, much-anticipated games are resumed, the main attention will clearly be focussed on what appears an intriguing struggle for the league championship between log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who have a four-point advantage over Mamelodi Sundowns, but with the defending champions having a game in hand.

The talk now from those who make the decisions on the future of this season's Absa Premiership is that an announcement is pending this week. But we've heard that one before - and more than once as well!

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