With the current PSL season done and dusted, and everyone involved in the game recuperating for a coupler weeks, the question that comes to mind is——Is the PSL really one of the best leagues in the world?
This debate has gathered enough momentum and has often been discussed in the football circle by football leaders and media. According to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), in the latest survey of comparing the top 100 leagues in the world, the PSL is ranked outside the top 10. In addition, the IFFHS ranks the Tunisian Ligue 1 as the the highest ranking African league at position 15th, followed by Moroccan Botola Ligue at 17th and the Egyptian league at 31st.
The information boggles the mind and forces one to interrogate the contributing factors to the IFFHS findings that the PSL is not in the top 10 leagues in the world. Is the IFFHS ranking system biased and credible enough to be trusted? Is the validation process of high ethical standards? Where all the variables (independent) taken into consideration in arriving at the ranking conclusion?
Nevertheless, the FARPost Investigative Unit will look at what are the contributing factors that might have led to the PSL being devalued.
1. The Quality of football
The South African game has a history that is characterized by eccentric play, intelligent possession, highly skillful players and dominant football personalities who puts a show on the pitch.
But the influx of journeyman coaches like Ernst Middendorp, Giovani Solinas, Luc Eymael and Jozef Vukusic to just sprinkle a few, have contributed to the deterioration of the local football standards. These palookas have stifled our players’ creativity and endorsed foreign playing concepts which are alien to the detriment of our game and its players.
2. Bad administration
The PSL product is synonymous with bad publicity and consistent administrative mistakes all the time. Cases of Vuyo Mere playing while suspended and the Tebogo Langerman sitting on the bench when he had accumulated 4 bookings, paints a picture of a league that is reckless in the eyes of the international community.
In-fighting between the PSL and the National Association (SAFA) continues to thrive regardless. The bickering and animosity witnessed between the league and the mother body during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, only served to illustrate the extent of the football pandemic within our game.
3. Corporate governance
The start of the 2020/2021 season will see the introduction of 2 new teams, TS Galaxy and Tshakuma Tsa Mandhivanzila (TTM). Both clubs enter the PSL after buying out the statuses of Highlands Park and Bidvest Wits respectively. Although nothing is wrong with the actual takeovers of the clubs, as it has been the case all over the world, it is the manner in which such deals are carried out that leaves the PSL brand tainted.
Often these takeover bids undermine the players’ rights and are carried out quite badly without the proper consultation of all key stakeholders involved.
4. Quality of PSL exports
When last did the PSL import its products to the top leagues in the world? Who is the best SA import playing in La Liga, Bundesliga and English Premiership? Where is the PSL products plying their trade?
Countries like Brazil, Ghana and Uruguay to suggest a few, continuously deliver top and exceptional talent to reputable clubs like FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid and Bayern Munich, whereas the PSL product plays in the small Belgian and Scandanavian leagues.
5. Club sponsorship
The PSL still exhibit an unfair and biased sponsorship component. Clubs like Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, have remarkable financial resources as compared to your Black Leopards, Polokwane City and Golden Arrows.
Even though the league’s broadcast sponsorship alleviate the challenges faced by the so-called small clubs, still the gap between the rich and the poor is too wide to ultimately ignore.
For the PSL to enter the world’s top 10 league bracket a lot must change. Change is painful but its rewards will certainly go a long way in positioning the PSL brand to its rightful place.
RELATED STORY: The 10 best stepping stone clubs for Europe’s Top 5 Leagues
By FARPost Investigative Unit