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Why Kaizer Chiefs have left the PSL with the toughest of decisions

6:58 AM EST 12/4/21
Kaizer Chiefs warm up FNB Stadium
GOAL takes a look at some of the reasons for and against Amakhosi being granted respite by the Premier Soccer League

Kaizer Chiefs’ decision to pull out of their match against Cape Town City after a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp has left the PSL with some very tough calls to make.

The late timing of the withdrawal may work against the Glamour Boys.

One also has to question how so many of the Chiefs contingent - a combined total of 31 staff and players, tested positive in such a short space of time. Have proper protocols been in place and strictly adhered to? The club claimed they have:

"As Kaizer Chiefs communicated in the last few days leading up to the game against Swallows FC, the Club has instituted stricter Covid management protocols following several positive Covid cases affecting the team and general personnel.

"Our protocols are always strict but we have had to be more stringent in the last two weeks given the increasing number of infections in Gauteng and the country.

"Players and staff at Kaizer Chiefs Football Club have been closely monitored for symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic and have been tested regularly. More personnel tested positive this week as we were preparing for Saturday’s game."

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we must believe these statements to be true.

It does beg the question as to why no other PSL club has reported similar such outbreaks.

But with that said, not everything is known about Covid-19, and even less so about the latest variant which was recently found in South Africa.

Chiefs may well be innocent victims.

At the same time though, the PSL could be worried about setting a precedent that would allow any team to ask for postponements at short notice - this could throw the league into chaos and also make it difficult to complete on time.

Then there's the inconvenience Cape Town City have to endure.

Travelling with a full squad of players and technical team members takes a lot of organizing and a quite a bit of money. Even more so with Covid-19 protocols in place these days.

In the middle of a very busy fixture period, there's also the issue of jetlag and fatigue. It's not surprise that the Cape contingent plan to try and force that the three points are given to them by turning up at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening. One can understand why the Citizens would feel they should be awarded the points.

On the balance, the PSL may well be leaning towards handing City the points. Although also don't be surprised if they delay their decision for some time.

That may be a wise idea because in the interim, they'll be able to observe just how serious the latest Covid-19 variant is, how it affects the rest of the country, and whether talk of a 'fourth wave' materialises.

They may also want to investigate further and to see evidence of the 31 people from the Chiefs camp who tested positive, and to find out how many of those were players.

While the PSL can delay their decision on the points, they'll have to decide quickly what to do about Amakhosi's request to also reschedule the games against Golden Arrows on December 8 and Sekhukhune United on December 12.

Because there is more time before those games, there may be a greater chance the PSL will show some leniency. They might, however, insist that the December 19 game versus Royal AM takes place as that falls more than two weeks after the current date.

Perhaps the league decision-makers may feel the best compromise would be to dock Chiefs the three points for the City game - to show there are indeed repercussions for late notice - but then to allow the other two matches to be played at a later date.

It's the toughest of decisions though, as the PSL also needs to be sensitive to the devastation which has been caused by Covid-19 and the many people who have succumbed or lost loved ones to the pandemic.