Since Orlando Pirates started the group stages of their 2013 CAF Champions League campaign, their Absa Premiership season has almost come to a standstill. While most teams have completed six PSL matches so far, Bucs have only faced AmaZulu and Polokwane City in the 2013/14 Absa Premiership season.
Does this mean that clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona shouldn’t play any of their domestic league matches until their UEFA Champions League campaign is over? Or should the PSL schedule their fixtures better to accommodate the CAF Champions League?
Whatever the solution may be, we know for sure that the Bucs players are suffering and will continue to suffer for a number of reasons.
There has been no consistency from players like Kermit Erasmus and Thamsanqa Gabuza, both of whom Bucs spent a fortune on, while they have to settle for friendlies against mediocre opposition.
Strikers in particular need a lot of game-time, or rather, competitive game-time under their belts to get them firing on all cylinders. Erasmus and Gabuza, two of the most lethal strikers in South Africa, are being forced to play SAFA Second Division opposition in friendly matches, while Bafana is lacking in goal scorers.
How and when do the PSL plan to fit all these catch-up games in for Pirates? It’s expected from players that they perform week-in and week-out, but how many matches will Bucs’ squad be expected to play to catch up with the rest of the PSL clubs and still challenge for title honours?
Orlando Pirates have been surprisingly quiet about the rescheduling of fixtures and it’s their opponents in the PSL who have been making all the noise. Of concern is that it also affects the plans of Bucs' opponents, who need to arrange friendly matches in order to keep their players fit.
Ajax Cape Town have had gone six weeks without playing a competitive match. Their players have had to make do with friendlies against National First Division sides in Cape Town, like Chippa United, Vasco Da Gama and Milano.
Bucs will surely be title contenders in the final stretch of the PSL campaign, that goes without saying. Will their squad be able to handle catching up all of these PSL matches in addition to playing in the MTN 8final, the Telkom Knockout and the Nedbank Cup?
All of these competitions require their attention while still maintaining their focus on reaching that much desired second star on their jersey.
By: Julian Bailey
Follow Julian on Twitter: @kwetsa_89