As the chips are laid on the respective tables the world over every pulsating soccer season there is reason to believe that the works done ex ante are a determinant factor on the potential of a team. The dress rehearsals for some of these leagues have come and gone and we have a taste of what to expect this season. This year’s club soccer hiatus though begs for beguile as it is a period that trails the World Cup. This always inculcates gargantuan interest on who will cast their nets on the crème de la crème players who strutted their equanimity and dexterity in the tournament. Some players are like the bear market as El Hadji Diouff who was purchased by Liverpool after Senegal upset France in the 2002 installment and some purchases emanating from the tournament are like a bull market and they have same impact on their teams. The Holy Grail also assists in the widening parochial purchasing of players as many players move from continent to another manifesting the gist of Globalisation.
From an African country to the Middle East, from Argentina to Italy etc and this year will be no different and for the fans well the speculation and the clairvoyance are rife. As in any season coaches have also jumped ships and have caused stirs in their new clubs as they promulgate their plans and certain players are seen as bench material. This will certainly be more evident earlier on in England as a new rule has come into place that allows only 25 players to be registered by a team and the only other players who will be eligible to play either than the 25 will be players under 21 registered in the United Kingdom. This has already caused stirs as players like Jonathan Woodgate and Fabio Ferreira are not likely to be included in Tottenham and Chelsea squads. This will also bring about more distribution of players in the premiership as certain players will be transferred at less a cost.
A coach to have jumped ship is the quintessential Jose Mourinho who has landed himself a position at what has been some what a poisonous chalice as Real Madrid coach and has himself the arduous task of trying to break Barcelona’s cup winning streak as they will be chasing their fourth consecutive La Liga. He has been able to attain the services of one Sami Khedira one of the young players that galvanised the German team to a semi-final appearance. Another German player has been on the tip of most soccer fans’ tongue is Mesut Ozil who has been linked to many clubs including Real and Chelsea. His latest linkage has been to Man United manager Alex Ferguson who has bolstered his already quintessential team with Javier Hernandez and for his dress rehearsal for the season managed to give a clear sign to the rest of the team in the premiership with a 3-1 drubbing of Chelsea in the Charity Shield. They will also be wary of what is happening across the road at Man City who have bought a string of prominent players in world football including the likes of Toure Yaya, David silver and Jerome Boateng.
Locally the dress rehearsal began with an Orlando Pirates versus Amazulu game that was to show just what the Buccaneers will bring to the table this season but the game was pretty ordinary in a game that saw Bucs new player Daine Klate showing auspicious signs.Eventually in the 60th minute Isaac Chansa hit a shot from outside the box and the net rattled and this guaranteed Pirates go into the final but they had to wait till the 94th minute of the Chiefs/Sundowns bout to know who their opponents would be come dusk. In a game that was poised for penalties until newcomer at Chiefs Sthembhiso Ngcobo headed a ball to pierce Downs’ hearts.
With the president attending to witness his favourite club Pirates play Amakhosi it was yet another derby. Chiefs drew first blood through none other than Lucky Khune with a very beautiful goal from a Ngcobo pass. Pirates would retort in the 55th minute through Lucky Lekgwathi and a certain life line for the men in black and white came to pass and the game had no further goals then eventually the dreaded penalties. Bucs would have remembered the last penalties they had against Chiefs which were abjectly horrible but Pirates managed to be better this time than in Nedbank Cup game but were denied their third successive Telkom Charity Cup.
“Every gambler knows that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep. Cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser” are the lyrics of a song by Kenny Rodgers called The Gambler and at the end of the day as we gamble our emotions into the various teams and the coaches pull poker faces and bluffs we know we are set for another soccer season that will be memorable.