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Why Kaizer Chiefs boss Motaung is right to be ‘dumbfounded’ by PSL

14:40 GMT+4 02/01/2022
Kaizer Chiefs.
Amakhosi failed to turn up for two games in December – a home match against the Citizens and an away game against Abafana bes’Thende

It’s not surprising that Kaizer Chiefs supremo Kaizer Motaung has been ‘dumbfounded’ by the PSL’s ruling to dock the club points for the missed matches against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows, a result of a Covid-19 outbreak.

After a lengthy silence on Chiefs’ fate, the PSL ruled just before Christmas against the Glamour Boys.

If indeed the club was as badly hit by Covid as they claim to be - and you would assume they have the Covid test results to back this up - there is really nothing else they could have done but failed to turn up for those games.

Ultimately, it's difficult to see what Chiefs could have done differently and for them to be punished for trying to do the right thing in terms of the health of their players, staff, and everyone they came into contact with, including opposition teams, feels very harsh.

Motaung echoed those sentiments in his end-of-year address, published on the Chiefs website.

"Our recent experience that saw us not allowed to postpone matches after the Covid-19 attack has still left us dumbfounded," he said.

"This has also brought a lot of attention on the running of the league and we have to ensure that we do not let this situation tarnish the good image of the organization.

"We do hope sanity and rationality will prevail at the end of the day and the PSL continues to be an example to many leagues in the world. We also need to learn from the examples of other top leagues in the world."

Precedent set?

An argument has been made that a precedent was set last season when Cape Umoya's application to the PSL to have a fixture postponed because of a number of Covid-19 cases in their team, was rejected. Cape Umoya's opponents that day, Cape Town Spurs, were handed a 3-0 walkover, also upheld at arbitration.

The saying 'two wrongs don't make a right comes to mind' in this scenario. There’s no point in repeating a mistake – rather own up that it was the wrong decision.

It should also be taken into account, that when the Umoya ruling was made, even less was known about Covid-19, and at that stage, there had not even been a vaccine rollout.

The one point here is that we are living in unprecedented and uncertain times, not in recent history has there been anything comparable and anything which has been such a substantial, singular and potentially deadly threat to the entire world.

Therefore one might think that more flexibility and more compassion could be implemented.

In some of the bigger European leagues, this has been the case and games have been postponed, rather than points forfeited in many instances.

Another point to consider, is that the Umoya-Ajax fixture was almost a year ago.

That incident should have been the trigger which got the PSL to put in place more specific guidelines for the next time a team was severely disrupted. It was bound to happen again.

PSL not helping its cause

For decades, the PSL has been well respected, globally and on the continent.

“The PSL continues to be one of the best leagues on the continent because of how professionally it is run. We continue to be proud of the work done by all involved,” Motaung rightfully pointed out.

Their reputation is, however, in danger of being tarnished by the Chiefs debacle and the question of divided loyalties or conflict of interest has again arisen.

Not surprisingly, when you consider that Motaung is himself part of the PSL Board of Governors, as are Cape Town City boss John Comitis and Golden Arrows owner Mato Madlala, who doubles up as the league's acting CEO.