By Tendai sibanda
The last day of the 2011/12 Absa premiership season on Saturday 19 May is quickly approaching us and what an interesting day it looks to be. I love soccer and it flows in my veins. I have to say how exciting it is that the destiny of the league tittle will be once again decided on the last day of the season. Will history repeats itself, Orlando pirates find themselves in this situation as last season were they clinched the tittle on the very last day of the season, facing the very same team Golden Arrows whom they beat 2-1 at Orlando Stadium. But this time around they have to do it away from home which makes it a very breaking point game.While Moroka swallows have a tricky away encounter against Mazitzburg United who broke Ajax Capetown hearts by holding them to a draw while a victory by the Capetown side will have handed them the league crown in the expense of the Bucaneers.
The last day of the season keeps the anticipation levels highly especially if you are a supporter of either Orlando pirates or Moroka Swallows. As it stands now at 29 games the race is between the two Soweto giants and it is of no doubt that it makes for such exciting end of the season.
Its days like Saturdy 19 May, i realise how much emotional attachment i have for this beautiful game as famously dupped by the greatest player this word has ever seen Pele. He once famously said football is not like war, it should be played with smile. Some teams like Mamelodi Sundows have just thrilled the fans with their breath taking touches and attacking flair all season long.
With just one game to go before the league rounds off and the curtain closes. We have the Absa premiership tittle heading either of the Soweto giants Orlando pirates who currently stands on 55 points and Moroka swallows on 53 points. Orlando pirates takes on Golden Arrows away while Moroka Swalows have Maritzburg United also away. Neither of the teams are going to be willing to squander these games. With Orlando pirates ahead on 2 points could they actually hang on to the top and successfully defend their titte or will the history books be re written by Moroka swallows. For now we dont have answers, come Saturday 19 May the answers will be provided.
It does not end with the Soweto giants there are also some mouth watering ties and dog fight battles for the top 8 finish to go with and thats what makes it even more interesting. The third and fourth place is to be decided between Supersport United on 51 points, Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer chiefs on both 49 points. However chasing on their tails is Free state stars on 48 points who will also relish a chance in finishing on the top four position. As it stands if either of the third or fourth placed teams draw or lose and fifth and sixth teams win their games this could be a tricky finish to the season.
The last decider of Saturday 19 May's season end is also the relagation battle between Jomo cosmos, Santos and Black leopards. Black leorpards 14 on the log are on 25 points and can ease their woes if they can hold their nerve and cruise to the last 2 games by regestering outright victories. Leopards had had a tough season back on the PSL and their median season following many years battling in the lower ranks not made easier by their commintment on the CAF cup on the African stage. Santos who lie 15 on the log on 24 points and they welcome fellow strugglers Jomo cosmos home which is certainly going to be a tough match of the 3 games. They will be hoping to regester a win and relish their survival hopes in the elite ranks through the psl promotional play offs with the two teams which finish second and third in the national first division leagues (NFD).Jomo Cosmos on 18 points are rooted at the bottom of the log which can be certainly the end of their campaingn in the psl and they should be preparing a life in the NFD. With them playing Santos away doesnt make it any easier , but one will excpect Jomo and his men to give out a gallant fight and bow out bravely.
What a tense and entertaining season it has been. I certainly didn't think all will be decided on the last day. I am not sure anyone could have predicted the twists and turns of the season at all. Heading to the christimas break Sundows looked on poll position to go all the way and clinch the league tittle. In the second stanza they have blown away that and as it stands now they are out of the picture and they have themselves to blame for this. It is yet another frustation for Motsepe's highly assembled squad with only the nedbank cup final set for 26 May against city rivals Supersport United to play for presenting them with a chance to finish with silverware or risk another season with so much promise but ended on empty hands.
Its a different story altogether to some teams. Moroka swallows have pulled together really well and proved everyone wrong considering that last season at this stage of the season they were involved on th dog fight battles of relagation. Fast foward that ,now are sitting right up there with the top teams standing a chance to outset Orlando pirates and pip them on the tittle on the last day of the season. Gordon Igesund and his side deserves to be appauded for sterlling performances this season.
The defending champions Orlando pirates in the first half looked liked they will surrender their tiitle on a silver plate. In the second half of the season they have bounced back on style and it takes such a strong character by players to achieve this. As things stand now they look on the course to regester their second successive unprecedented treble with Golden Arrows the team standing between them and success . In the past two seasons they have been slowly stamping their authority on the local soccer and at present moment no one can deny that they rule the local scene.
Jomo Cosmos, Black leopards and Santos fell apart and have given a few shocks. Jomo cosmos with two wins all season.The fight for the top was pretty much between Orlando pirates, Mamelodi Sundows, Supersport United, Kaizer chiefs , Moroka swallows and high flying Free State Stars whole way through. Ajax Capetown, Amazulu, Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic suffererd a bit this year they are not near what they were last season. Mamelodi Sundowns came out firing but subdued towards the end and Ajax Capetown, Maritzburg United just fired their way out after selling their best players following their unprecedented seasons the previous year.
As a soccer lover, i have enjoyed the thrilling displays and battles on the field of play this season. 19 May is almost upon us, i hope all the Mzansi football lovers enjoy the last action and day of the season .Remember its not over until the final whistle will be blown. If Orlando pirates lose and Moroka Swallows wins on the day they will grab the chance to be crowned the Absa premier soccer champions following a long lean years.
All the round fixtures 19 May 2012, kickoff time 15.00 across all the matches.
Home teams drawn first
Black Leopards vs Ajax Capetown
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Supersport United
Golden Arrows vs Orlando pirates
Kaizer Chiefs vs Amazulu
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Free State Stars
Maritzburg United vs Moroka swallows
Platinum Stars vs Bidvest Wits
Santos vs Jomo Cosmos
Five top scorers in the league so far The league table
1. Siyabonga Nomvethe ( Moroka swallows) 20 Team Games Points
2.Eleazar Rodgers ( Santos ) 12 1. Pirates 29 55
3.Edward Manqele (Free State Stars ) 11 2.Swallows 29 53
4.David Mathebula (Moroka Swallows ) 10 3.Supersport Utd 29 51
5. Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns) 10 4. Sundows 29 49
5.Kaizer chiefs 29 49
6.Free State Stars 29 48
7.Bloem Celtic 29 41
8.Amazulu 29 40
9. Ajax Capetowon 29 40
10.Platinum Stars 29 36
11.Maritzburg 29 34
12. Golden Arrows 29 32
13.Bidvest Wits 29 30
14.Black Leopards 28 25
15. Santos 29 24
16. Jomo cosmos 28 18