PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza has reflected on the 2019/20 season that brought with it many challenges because of Covid-19.
In his address, the ‘Iron Duke’ has heaped praise on the individuals who ensured the completion of the League.
The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year the whole world grounded to a halt. The last time the world faced anything similar was in the Second World War.
But the similarities end there. The Second World War did not bring the whole world into a standstill, where people could not leave their homes for work, school or play. For a world economic system that has mobility as its lifeblood, the sudden stop in movement had unimaginable consequences.
We nearly did not complete the season. When we did complete the season, it was under circumstances that were exponentially costlier and potentially deadly. All those that participated in ensuring the completion of the season did so under trying circumstances. Their professionalism and courage are deserving of praise and commendation.
I therefore dedicate my address to the gratitude of these dependable South Africans who demonstrated that we can match our fit for purpose skill-set with a selflessness without which the safe completion of the season would not have happened.
The Club Chairpersons of all the clubs in the NSL were from the beginning oriented towards a solution they were committed to be a part of. They provided an environment and safety net required to make and implement the tough decisions.
The creation and maintenance of a bio-bubble required secure infrastructure matched with discipline. Without the Gauteng Provincial Police; Disaster Management Control Centre; JMPD and Health Services the infrastructure’s integrity could not have been maintained. The environment was further exacerbated by Gauteng being a hotspot. Yet the Gauteng Government diligently prepared the grounds and other related infrastructure support.
All thirty-two Teams of the NSL took it all on the chin. What they managed to achieve would under normal circumstances require counselling before, during and post bio-bubble.
For the smooth running of matches, support services needed to be intact. The PSL staff that formed part of the bio-bubble saw to that.
Ladies and gentlemen, all the stresses and costs were not in in vain. The safe completion of the league saved livelihoods without sacrificing any life. The completion of the league also meant the integrity of the league’s funding model did not come to a grinding halt. There was also a healing and therapeutic benefit to our nation that remained in lockdown. The PSL content was available in homes across the country to lessen the burden and hardship the nation was under. SuperSport and the staff both in front and behind the cameras went into the bio-bubble for the nation’s benefit.
For the first time in the history of the NSL, the last matches in the Absa Premiership and the GladAfrica Championship determined the winners of both leagues. Congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns, for winning the Absa Premiership three times in a row, adding the tally to 10 league championships.
Well done Swallows for your winning of the GladAfrica Championship and automatic promotion to the PSL.
Life in the “new normal” requires a new level of consciousness and behaviour. Wear a mask anywhere you are in close contact with others. There is a chance of somebody’s saliva and breath reaching yours, especially indoors where particles stay in the air for longer.
Please wash your hands with water and soap regularly to avoid coming into contact with the virus then rubbing your nose. Remember you are not likely to rub your nose if it is covered with a mask.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa