|BE MY GUEST: Thilixxo|
Thilivhali Daniel Nekokwane Nemulalate calls himself "@thilixxo" on Twitter. I've been putting my stories here since before the 2010 World Cup; nearly 1m people have clicked on this site. So I thought somebody else should have a go - somebody with quite a story to tell, and who loves football as I do.
Thilivhali was born in 1974 September 26, in Venda, Limpopo. He studied and completed his matric there and moved permanently to Johannesburg in 1992. He says: "I did my tertiary studies in Technikon SA. I am a football fanatic and die-hard Kaizer Chiefs fan since 1981. I engage in lot of football discussion but never wrote a published article.
"My facebook page is Reverend T D Nemulalate and I discuss no soccer in it. I am a Pastor. I am in a relationship and have 3 children. I never played professional soccer, though I was very much involved in rural soccer development when still residing in Venda."
I know there are lot of hot topics football fans, especially SA Football followers, would love to engage in. Showboating, the "Pitso Mosimane and Shakes Mashaba spy saga", whether Dean Furman failed overseas, Tefu Mashamaite’s big salary cut, season tickets, empty stadiums and many more are dominating the headlines at the moment.
Such issues have clouded our most interesting start of the season discussion: WHO WILL WIN THE LEAGUE?
There are other competitions like TKO, Nedbank Cup and MTN8. But we all know the big one is the PSL. A coach will be forgiven for not winning any of the cup competition, but will be fired and criticized for not doing well in the PSL.
If you ask Jomo Sono right now what his goal for this season is, he will tell you it is to remain in PSL. Now the big questions are WHO WILL WIN PSL and WHO WILL BE RELEGATED?
My predictions have nothing to do with which team I am a supporter of. And it is my opinion and everyone has his or her opinion. You are welcome to discuss my predictions. \
Bidvest Wits: If there is one thing that Gavin Hunt has mastered over the years, it is how to win the league. Gavin has a system and he sticks to it. He never plays to please the eyes of the supporters. His teams are direct and stick to basics.
I have also noticed that he is able to get players to play for him, making him a very good motivator. And at Wits he has now built a very balanced team strong at the back and midfield.
The strike force is a suspect but I have realized that he will be asking his midfielders to quickly get into the box to feed off the big Namibian, Henrico Botes. This is one team that will win lot of games by 1-0. And Botes will get a goal here and there.
Supersport United FC: favorites to win the league according to most soccer pundits, and the recent capture of Bafana Bafana's Dean Furman has just fuelled those predictions.
SSU will also be helped by the fact that they have managed to keep the majority of the players from last season.
Beside Furman, they have brought back Bongani Khumalo from England; they also have signed players from Oceania who have already impressed. Jeremy Brockie from New Zealand will certainly continue banging in the goals. It will take time for the defense to gel but with keeper.
Ronwen Williams they have someone who will bail them now and then when they are gelling. Most importantly, in Gordon Igesund they have a coach who has won most league title in SA with different teams. He certainly knows how to win the league. They will have to deal with inconsistencies of last season under GI though if they want to be counted up there end of season.
Mamelodi Sundowns: surprised us all by not going into the market the way we are used to this season. It is clear they have realized that chopping and changing has been their biggest downfall.
I doubt Sundowns have kept one coach for 3 seasons in the last 10 seasons, I stand to be corrected. That shows the change in attitude in the management. Chiefs secret last 3 seasons was to stick to the same team and I think Sundowns has adopted the same attitude.
The only challenge they face is to find the replacement of Alje Schut as he offered more than just defending. Sundowns has the strongest strike force in Mashed, Malajila, Laffor and their midfield of Modise and Kekana gets goals now and then.
Their only downfall this season will be the news starting to come out about the boardroom and training ground disunity.
Kaizer Chiefs: The major change at Naturena is surely the appointment of Steve Komphela to replace Stuart Baxter as head coach. The departure of Tefu Mashamaite, who formed a formidable partnership with Eric Mathoho, will also be felt.
I believe the technical team has already noticed and are dealing with it. I believe Chiefs still need to sign another midfielder who can score goals, May Mahlangu in particular, then they can/will win the league. From what I have seen in last two games, the playing style hasn’t changed much. Playing personnel has enough experience to win the league, they have been there before. Once Chiefs start to put away those many chances they create, they will be unstoppable.
HOW THEY WILL FINISH:
Winner Kaizer Chiefs
Runners up Bidvest Wits
Third Supersport United
Fourth Mamelodi Sundowns
I predict Orlando Pirates, MP Black Aces, Ajax Cape Town and Platinum Stars will complete the top 8 in no particular order. Pirates are still involved in the CAF Confederation Cup and it is negatively impacting on their domestic form.
They did not rest over the PSL break and fatigue can be seen in players. They have been hit by injuries lately, which could be the results of fatigue. They are also very inconsistent under Eric Tinkler. I tweeted sometime that Tinkler is in fact a better coach than I rated him, but he is not one to win big things yet. I think they will blow hot and cold the whole season.
When I think of Ajax Cape Town, I think of Arthur Zwane’s words, “Kids don’t win the league”. Again, for some reason, teams under Rodger De Sa do very well in first half the season and very bad after Christmas break. Only God Knows why.
One can only pray that Mpumalanga Black Aces coach Muhsin Ertugral will not decide to leave for family reasons or a better coaching job somewhere. Ertugral talks a lot about attacking like Africans and defending like Europeans.
From that you can already see lot of draws for Mpumalanga Black Aces. One thing you can almost guarantee for Aces is a final in one competition or even Gold in one. Ertugral does very well in that department.
Cavin Johnson has returned to Platinum Stars and will have to deal with the loss of players like Ngele and Mashabela who formed a backbone of the Dikwena he coached to 2nd position 3 seasons ago. Surely they will be very interesting to watch as Zongo and Makudubela are stylish players. But to do as well as a season before, they will have to sign proven goal poacher.
I predict Bloemfontein Celtic, Golden Arrows, Free State Stars and Polokwane City will complete that department in that particular order.
Yes, Celtic has started the season very well considering their MTN8 exploits. But as usual they will fade when the going gets tough. I see a lot of draws for them as Larsen is defensive coach.
Golden Arrows will play for survival and Serame Letsoaka still have to prove himself as a head coach. Having worked with GI, I think he has learned enough to do well and Ramagalela will prove to be a good buy.
Free State Stars are also coached by defensive minded coach and with a striker like Sekola still there, I see a lot of goal draws.
I still don’t understand why Polokwane City kept Kostadin Papic as coach. The man doesn’t know the word defence. Like P Stars, they will be very watchable. Expect lot of goals whenever they are in action. Draws and losses are orders of the day whenever PLK City is in town.
Maritzburg United: They had a fairytale season last season, having qualified for top 8 for the first time in their history under Steve Komphela, who has since been snatched by Kaizer Chiefs. Mandla Ncikazi, new coach, will find the going very tough. The fact that they managed to keep most players and have good ones like Kurt Leintjies will help them survive the chop, even though they will be battling down there throughout.
Pretoria University: Having lost their first league game against returnees Arrows, it already looks like it will be a difficult journey for Amatuks. They have lost one of last season star players in Massa. There were rumors of selling their PSL status as the team is reported to be struggling with big salaries. The university management is worried that some players, who are students, earn bigger than university management and professors. It seems it is getting very expensive to run the team without a big sponsor.
Chippa United: don’t be fooled by their super performance against Kaizer Chiefs. Who don’t play well against Chiefs? And you don’t have to look further than their performance against Orlando Pirates. Where was that fighting spirit? Two loses and Chippa Mpengesi gets his gun polished, and that will be story of the season. Roger said they will not be push overs this time, well we have heard that before.
Jomo Cosmos: “We are back for good this time, we are” says Jomo Sono. Isn’t that what Jomo says every time Cosmos gets promoted? God Knows how many times. The squad has talent but it is clear Jomo has lost touch and his coaching tactics needs renewal. All local coaches in PSL understand modern football but not Jomo.
He is still somewhere in 1999. Cosmos once won only two games in whole season. I will not be surprised if it happens again this time around. Solution would be to get a coach and stepping aside by Bra J.