SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo, talks about the growth the game locally and how different cup competitions have levelled the playing field.
"There’s a lot of money to be won in the league and that’s credit to the league chairman (Irvin Khoza) and his management. In a few weeks’ time, we will be watching the lucrative MTN8, which is one trophy Sundowns have struggled to do well in because of lack of pre-season. Cape Town City won it and even came close to challenging for league honours. Baroka FC, who were fighting relegation towards the end of the season, beat more-fancied Orlando Pirates in the final of the Telkom Knockout against all odds. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the Nedbank Cup was won by a National First Division side in TS Galaxy when they surprised Kaizer Chiefs in the final.
"All these competitions have a lot of money that can compensate for not winning the ultimate prize, the league title, at the end of the season. These competitions have also proved that the playing grounds have been levelled as no one won more than one trophy. I hope there will be more entertainment and other teams challenging for honours in order to create an excitement.
"Our attackers also need to raise their hands so that we can have more goals. We should really give credit to the League because there’s so much to play for. They’ve done so much and even increased the prize money to R15m and that’s incredible. You still have the monthly Q-Innovation to play for and it makes me feel like I was born at the wrong time! Imagine helping your team to win all these trophies and still go on to win individual awards. You do that for five seasons and you’ll be sorted for life – it is there for the taking and, once again, credit to the league.
"The MultiChoice Diski Challenge has now been increased to a proper 30-game season and a cup competition, while the National First Division has a sponsor. Our game is improving and we need to give credit where it is due.
"Sundowns are now chasing SuperSport United’s record of three league titles in a row. If they go on to win this campaign, then it would mean that the Tshwane teams’ dominance and record-breaking achievements continue. This speaks to the amount of work the two teams continue to put into their game and it can only be good for the game. Let me wish our CAF continental competitions representatives, Sundowns, Pirates and Galaxy, everything of the best as they start their respective competitions this weekend, while Bidvest Wits got a by."