But PSL teams can't afford to be distracted by disciplinary sideshows at this stafe of the season
MAMELODI Sundowns’ biggest competition in the PSL title race is Mamelodi Sundowns themselves.
The Brazilians have a penchant for scoring silly own-goals off the pitch and going off the boil on it when things are easy.
Sundowns will appear before the PSL’s disciplinary committee today before facing a potential banana peel in Black Leopards at Loftus tonight.
The Tshwane side are charged with contravening rule 16.3.2 of the National Soccer League after they “allegedly fielded an ineligible player” in Wayne Arendse against Wits in October last year.
Thapelo Morena picked up an injury during warm-up and Sundowns replaced him with Arendse who wasn’t in the matchday squad. The rules stipulate that any replacements to the starting personnel before the start of the match once the team sheets have been submitted must be made with the players who are in the matchday squad.
This isn’t the first administrative blunder Sundowns have made.
There was a mistake on the figure of Keagan Dolly’s buy-out clause a couple of years ago, and they also accepted former captain Alje Schut’s card with the wrong year. Club president Patrice Motsepe promised to act and ensure that such blunders aren’t repeated, but that hasn’t been the case.
The timing of the announcement of these disciplinary hearings have been questioned. Sundowns’ case comes in the middle of a heated championship race.
Tomorrow log leaders Wits’ chief executive José Ferreira and centre-back Robyn Johannes will appear before the PSL’s DC for bringing the league into disrepute.
Ernst Middendorp, who is preparing for the Soweto derby, also has to think about his long-standing charge of misconduct for alleged improper statements made concerning the acting chief executive of the PSL, Mato Madlala, and the appointment of referees to his former club, Maritzburg United’s, matches.
None of these three teams can afford to be distracted by these sideshows.
Sundowns have to try and make up ground by closing the gap between them and the Clever Boys. The Brazilians are six points behind with three games in hand.
One of those games in hand is against Black Leopards, and it should come as no surprise that Lidoda Duvha also have to appear before the DC. The club and their coach Dylan Kerr have been charged with “misconduct arising from abusive and insulting utterances towards a referee and contemptuous, discriminatory and disparaging remarks to the match commissioner during their Absa Premiership fixture against Baroka FC” on 6 January.
Mosimane, a master of psychological warfare, will use this case to psych up his players like he did in their march to winning the 2016 Caf Champions League, labelling that campaign as a fight against all odds with the PSL refusing to move some of their games like they did with Orlando Pirates previously.
“Jingles” thrives at being cornered. He has transferred that skill to his team who do well under pressure, but struggle when things are easy. The clash with Leopards is in-between.
Sundowns have won their last four matches against Leopards and scored 13 goals in the process. But it won’t be easy as Leopards are a tricky side under Kerr who has reinvigorated them. This match will be a big psychological test for Sundowns who can be their own worst enemy at times.