Igesund: Gone Are The Days Of Chiefs & Pirates’ Dominance
Gordon Igesund believes the gap between local clubs is getting smaller, and that the days of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates being the main focus in pre-season title talk are gone.
While Amakhosi and the Buccaneers remain South Africa's most decorated clubs with 79 pieces of major silverware between them, the Soweto giants' grip on South African football has been weakened by the emergence of a more competitive top-flight in recent seasons.
In fact, it has been three years since either of the clubs have secured silverware, while the likes of SuperSport United, Free State Stars and Bidvest Wits all clinched cup titles last term, with The Clever Boys also taking Absa Premiership honours in the 2016/17 campaign.
And while Pirates managed a runners-up finish to Mamelodi Sundowns in the league last term, with Chiefs behind in third, Igesund - who won four PSL titles with four different teams, including Pirates and Sundowns - has played down any talk of a two- or three-horse race in 2018/19.
"Maybe, 20 years ago, you could have predicted Chiefs and Pirates as title favourites, but things have changed dramatically over the last 20 years," the former Bafana Bafana coach told the Siya crew.
"There might be a couple of surprises next season (in the Absa Premiership), there are many capable teams.
"Football has changed dramatically over the last 15, 20 years, in the sense that there are more teams capable of challenging for silverware, with the gap closing and closing, quicker and quicker.
While steering away from naming any outright title favourites, Igesund preferred to focus on the improvements across the board in the PSL, saying: "I certainly wouldn't say the league championship will be between only those three teams (Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns).
"I think there could be one or two surprises - the teams are constantly improving and challenging."
Igesund also stressed that the increased quality and competition is not only limited to the local game, with the veteran coach pointing to the ongoing FIFA World Cup as an example of how power dynamics are shifting in the game.
"You can see by the World Cup (in Russia); Italy and Holland never qualified, and the current world champions Germany are out. Spain, out," he said. "So the gap is really closing between the teams," he concluded.
Who do you think could be the surprise package in the 2018/19 Absa Premiership title race?