All hell will break loose if Ajax lose points

All hell will break loose if Ajax lose points
All hell will break loose if Ajax lose points
Johannesburg – Imagine the uproar if Orlando Pirates were to be awarded the three points they lost to Ajax Cape Town via a 3-0 drubbing. And just imagine what would happen if they went on to win the league championship.

Imagine the insinuations, insults and unprintable expletives that would be directed towards the league and its chairperson Irvin Khoza, who is also Pirates’ chairperson.

In the event that the three points were awarded to Pirates, the Bucs would be just a point behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns – if Ajax are deemed to have used an ineligible player in Tendai Ndoro.

I’d bet my last cent that Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will lead the chorus on how corrupt the league is and how Khoza is conflicted, not forgetting the Twitter mob that will be out in full force.

Mosimane would be right, though. Why wait for so long before the case is finalised?

It is important that it be resolved now so that Ajax are aware of how many points they would need to survive should they lose the case.

Imagine what would happen if the arbitrator rules against Ajax and they went on to lose all the points they got when Ndoro featured.

It would be unfair to expect Ajax not to use the player when he was cleared by the league’s Dispute Resolution Chamber.

As it is, the Urban Warriors are likely to lose 11 points – based on their three victories over Pirates, Platinum Stars and SuperSport United, and draws against Free State Stars and Polokwane City.

If the matter is concluded towards the end of the season and Pirates suddenly gain three points to overtake Sundowns, it could add a bitter taste to any league honours they would have gained.

This could also open up the possibility of endless litigation with whichever team that is disadvantaged from the final ruling of the court.

Khoza might not be personally involved in the day-to-day running of the league, but the onus is on him to make sure there is a smooth operation. After all, he is the head. Whatever happens, the buck stops with him – whether he likes it or not.

The league or the SA Football Association (Safa) should have dealt with this matter decisively a long time ago.

A verdict against Ajax would lead to accusations about how mafias are running the league and how they always wanted Pirates to win it.

The league proved its independence from its Dispute Resolution Chamber, which comprises independent professionals. As to how these non-football people came to their conclusion would be a matter for another day as the Fifa rules are clear on this one.

Once the matter is referred for arbitration, it is out of the league’s hands and belongs to Safa.

As much as one understands that senior counsels are not always readily available when they are needed, this matter needs urgent attention to put it to bed. Instead, by the time it is heard later this month, it would have dragged on for almost two months. This should not have been allowed.

Even in court, there are urgent matters that are heard immediately – even at night – and it is up to the judge to determine if the issue is urgent enough.

This is one of those issues that should have brought everything to a halt and been dealt with speedily.

If one lawyer was not available, another one should have been sought immediately.

If we want to be taken seriously, these are but some of the little things we need to get right.

Johannesburg – With 21 points to play for, the final stretch of the Absa Premiership campaign promises to be explosive for most of the clubs.

By the time Mamelodi Sundowns play their next game, a lot may have happened at the top. The log leaders are not scheduled to play any league matches until next month, when they host Chippa United.

By then, they could have been overtaken by Orlando Pirates, who will be on top if they beat Golden Arrows at the weekend and win their protest against Ajax Cape Town, resulting in six points.

While the Brazilians take care of their continental involvement, others will be sweating it out in the league campaign.

But Sundowns will be keeping one eye on the proceedings in the league, particularly the case involving Ajax Cape Town striker Tendai Ndoro and his eligibility to play, which could have an impact on the log standings. The case is set to be heard on March 26.

While many believe the title race is only between Sundowns and Pirates, other teams should not be ruled out of contention.

Seven games is a long time in football, particularly with just a few points separating the top six. The likes of Free State Stars, Maritzburg United and Kaizer Chiefs can still claw their way back into the race.

Even sixth-placed City, who are nine points adrift of the leaders, are still in with a chance.

On paper, Pirates stand a real chance of challenging Sundowns and pushing them all the way. The Bucs will be hoping that Pitso Mosimane is distracted by his involvement in the CAF Champions League.

Stars and United have been the surprise packages of this season so far, and credit should go to their coaches, Luc Eymael and Fadlu Davids.

Both teams have not just done well, but are a marvel to watch. The two are not in third and fourth place by mistake. They have flown under the radar and could spring some more surprises.

Unlike Sundowns, Pirates and Chiefs, these two are under no pressure to deliver the title at the end of the season and this could work in their favour. But whatever happens, they have done their supporters and management proud already.

Davids in particular has been impressive with some of the unknown quantities. Siphesihle Ndlovu and Lebohang Maboe have been stand-out players at United.

Steve Komphela will be hoping his Chiefs side recover from their 3-1 drubbing in the Soweto Derby when they host AmaZulu on Saturday evening.

Amakhosi are eight points behind Sundowns and their chances of clinching the league title seem to be diminishing with every game they play. However, they have the personnel to get them back on track.

While Platinum Stars certainly look doomed to be sent into relegation, as many as eight other sides are also fighting hard for survival.

Bottom-of-the-log Stars need at least four straight victories from their remaining seven matches to stand a chance of surviving the axe.

However, that looks unlikely as they still have to register a win this year – they have lost six of their past eight games.

At the same time, they are not the only side in danger of going down. Five other clubs – Golden Arrows, Polokwane City, Chippa United, AmaZulu and SuperSport United are on 27 points – which is 10 ahead of Stars, but their safety is not guaranteed.

Ajax are seven points clear of Stars, but with one game more. They will be dragged through the mud if the Rustenburg-based side gets maximum points in their game against Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.

Interestingly, all the bottom sides still have to play each other, which would make their encounters six-pointers.

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