It is that time of the year when we all enjoy festivities with our loved ones. This is, for some, the only time families get together except for unforeseen circumstances during the course of the year.
While this is a time to put our feet up and enjoy the Christmas break, it is also a time where we tend to lose a number of our people on our roads due to a number of reasons, one of which is drunken driving. I’d like to urge our people to enjoy the festive season responsibly so that we can all get to see what 2020 has in store for us.
Like a toddler in a candy shop, I find myself with a Christmas wish-list of my own, which should be enough to keep me happy until, at least, the end of May 2020. Below is my short but important bucket list as we head into the Christmas break…
Consistent refereeing – while it is an open secret that the refereeing in the Absa Premiership is nearing the crisis status, more like the ongoing country-wide electricity blackouts being rolled out by power utility Eskom, there are a few good performances that we’ve seen from the match officials, where they got critical decisions 100% correct. The problem, though, is the fact that those are so few and far between, with the level of inconsistency stealing the limelight. Here’s to hoping for much better form from the officials in the new year so that there’s no finger-pointing and ‘benefitting’ going on in our league. No match official would want to have their name associated with unduly costing an opposition team points at the end of the day. Coaches lose their jobs while teams drop down the log table because of the wrong decisions by the match officials. The importance of their role can’t be over-emphasised.
Women’s football – I’m ready to kneel down in front of Father Christmas to plead with him to please spare a thought for South African women’s football. A few months into the much-talked-about women’s national league, we still don’t have a sponsor for our ladies’ league and therefore not much has really changed as far as our women’s football is concerned. What have our ladies done to deserve this kind of treatment? Why is corporate South Africa ignoring the loud cries for help for our women’s football? Despite national teams doing so well to represent the country, our ladies’ football is still lagging behind because not enough is done to invest in their game as well as improve their lives. The disparity between men and women’s football in this country is a shame! That our national women’s team players earn way less than a mere R50 000 for representing the country at the highest level is a serious insult. Most former Banyana Banyana players have little to nothing to show for their dedication and commitment to the country’s cause because the Beautiful Game has failed them. May Father Christmas listen to the cries of our women’s football so that our ladies can also enjoy the same or similar benefits to their male counterparts?
20+ Top Goalscorer – Here comes another desperate cry! It has been almost 10 seasons since we last had an Absa Premiership player hit the back of the net 20 times in a season! A shocking statistic, but it is true! Retired Siyabonga Nomvethe was the last striker to collect the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot Award with 20 goals in 2011/12 in the colours of Moroka Swallows. Last season, Black Leopards’ Mwape Musonda came closest to Bhele’s record when he converted 16 times. Kaizer Chiefs’ Collins Mbesuma still holds the record of most goals scored (25) in 2004/05, followed by Bush Bucks’ Wilfred Mugeyi (22) in 1996/97, Chiefs’ Pollen Ndlanya (21) in 1998/99 and then Nomvethe, since the inception of the Absa Premiership in 1996. The worst goalscoring record belongs to Amakhosi’s Bernard Parker, who hit the back of the net just 10 times to be crowned the Top Goalscorer in 2013/14.
Safety on the roads – Another item on my bucket list is to see everyone back in the new year and therefore staying safe on our roads. A lot of people travel the landscape of our country without resting or, even worse, drinking alcoholic beverages, in an attempt to maintain the festive vibes. I wish that we will all behave and be responsible in this Christmas break so that no lives will continue to be lost due to reckless driving. Too many people have lost their lives cheaply because of bad choices. Let us all be responsible, stay physically active, recharge our batteries and come back stronger in 2020.
Women and children’s safety – Last but, certainly, not least. I wish for the safety of our women and children in this Christmas break, a time where values are sometimes thrown out of the window. The same people who are expected to protect our women and children sometimes turn on them. May we all play our part in ensuring that no harm, be it physical or emotional, is meted out on our women and children this festive season so that they can also enjoy the festivities without any fears. This is a message that we will continue to spread, with the hope that Soccer Laduma readers will become the champions of ensuring the safety of women and children in their communities. This is not something that we can just fold our arms on and hope the government gets to the bottom of it, we have to do it ourselves by becoming the good examples and the change we want to see.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020. Please note that this is our last edition of 2019, with the first edition of the New Year hitting the shelves on January 8. On behalf of our wonderful Soccer Laduma team, I’d like to thank you for your unwavering support this year and we hope to be doing this together again next year. Stay safe, enjoy the break and be blessed!