Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns are the only clubs representing South Africa in the CAF Champions League this season. However, given their congested schedules, fans are calling out the PSL for not doing enough to help them improve their chances in the continental competition.
Pirates will play against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday and then Esperance in Tunisia on Tuesday, while Sundowns will take on Black Leopards today and then ASEC Mimosas in Ivory Coast on Saturday.
Fans are calling out the PSL for not relieving the pressure on both clubs, who are playing very important games in keeping their chances of silverware this season alive. Soccer Laduma reader and regular contributor Mosesmu says the PSL does not care about teams playing in the Champions League, and thinks more should have been done:
"The PSL doesn't care about teams playing in the CCL, this game should have been shifted either early or later than Saturday to allow Pirates to prepare to represent the country well in Tunisia. If the Tuesday game was at home for Pirates, then it would be OK."
- Blogger: Mosesmu
Does Mosesmu have a point? Esperance, like Pirates, are playing on Saturday. Even worse, the defending champions are playing today too. Likewise, ASEC Mimosas are also playing their league game today. But do these clubs have an advantage over Pirates and Sundowns because they do not have to travel outside of their countries?
Soccer Laduma reader Thabanakhosi seems to also think the PSL is not being fair by congesting the fixture list, and that this could result in Pirates losing out on its trophy chances:
"I hate Pirates with a passion, But the PSL is not being fair to their teams when they engage in continental competition. I mean, when Pirates qualified for the group stage, the fixture was there for the PSL and the time was there to postpone the derby. They know the tempo of both fixtures and for Pirates to play those games in four days is difficult. The team will end up with nothing. They may sacrifice the derby and still lose in Tunisia, then it becomes difficult to chase both competitions."
- Blogger: Thabanakhosi
Thabanakhosi may have a point in saying that the tempo of both games is going to make life difficult for Pirates. But could the PSL have done something to make things easier and boost their chances?
Requelme wa le bhakaniya seems unbothered about the congested schedule, and believes that Pirates have the quality to win both games:
"We will win both games and haters will eat a humble pie. I am glad we will play behind closed doors [against Esperance], we won't be bullied by their hooligan fans."
- Blogger: Requelme wa le bhakaniya
Should the PSL do more to improve the chances of South African teams in continental competitions? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!