No Quarter Asked, No Quarter Given…
12 December 2012
When I first heard of this ‘Q Innovation’ concept, I thought it was a bit gimmicky, just another way of creating big paydays for the so-called big three. But as we head into the final round of games to decide the Q2 winners, I’m starting to warm to the concept.
Q Innovation really just formalises what many coaches do at the start of a season anyway by breaking the league up into segments of games and setting themselves points targets for those segments. Every coach has a magic number, the points haul he thinks will meet the club’s mandate that has been set for the season. As such he determines a certain pace that needs to be maintained to reach that magic number. It’s basically setting mini-goals that need to be hit along the way in order to achieve his mandate, which could be anything from winning the league title to finishing in the top eight to just avoiding relegation.
In the past, none of the fans, the journos watching or possibly even the club owners would split the league up into four measurable components. Usually only at the halfway mark would a club owner look at the progress or lack thereof and make decisions about whether the coach was on the right track. But often the halfway mark is too late for some clubs to make changes and so Q Innovation allows for a quarterly review of trends. Trends that for club owners are like the proverbial canary in a coal mine that stops singing when there is danger, and that for the rest of us makes for fascinating reading.
In Q1 (the first eight games), Kaizer Chiefs scored 16 goals and conceded just four. In Q2, which has one more game to go in this, a seven-game quarter, Chiefs have netted 12 times and conceded six. The scoring is slowing and the conceding is growing – a Q1 goal difference of 12 is just six in Q2 – a worrying sign. In Q1 Orlando Pirates were beaten twice, in Q2 they are the only unbeaten side. They have raised their scoring from eight goals in Q1 to 11 goals already in Q2 and they have conceded just twice in Q2 as opposed to the six they conceded in Q1. Pirates are scoring more and leaking less. They had a disturbingly low goal difference of just two in Q1, in Q2 it is a healthy nine.
Newcomers University of Pretoria finished second in Q1 scoring 13 goals in the process! Q2 has been harder going as PSL teams have started to figure them out. The surprise factor is clearly gone and in Q2 so far Tuks have just three goals and are third-last on the Q2 table. Moroka Swallows were flying in Q1 and finished fourth in the standings at the quarter way mark, banging in 15 goals in the process and picking up 13 points. In Q2 the wheels have well and truly come off. Currently they are in last place on the Q2 table, have not won a single game, scored just five goals and had 14 put past them for a negative 9 goal average for the quarter and, most disturbing of all, have picked up just one point so far. The Birds aren’t singing, and neither is their canary.
Despite the doom and gloom in the Sundowns camp, there has been somewhat of a recovery in Q2. Downs finished 14th in Q1, the notable statistics being that they had been beaten five times in eight games and had scored just three goals. In Q2 they have stopped the bleeding of points to a certain extent. They have lost just twice, have doubled their goal scoring tally and are sixth on the Q2 table with one game to play to round up the quarter.
While all the talk has been about the Pirates v Chiefs race this season, a solid performer in Q1 and the shining star in Q2, has been Cavin Johnson’s Platinum Stars. Johnson has led Dikwena to five wins out of six games in Q2, has outscored every other team with a current goal haul of 13 and is one win away from clinching the Q2 title!
Chiefs and Pirates should be aware by now that as far as Cavin Johnson is concerned, it’s no quarter asked, no quarter given…