11 June 2021 – As Covid-19 continues to spread into an official ‘third-wave’ across the nation, football fans remain grateful that action eventually resumed locally, particularly in terms of the lower SAFA structures and leagues.
Last season saw an unprecedented disruption of football proceedings, which threatened to derail not just smaller clubs, but even the established ones, as many clubs fought for mere survival.
However, once teams were given the green light to proceed early in the year, things started looking up.
The SAB, ABC Motsepe, Sasol and National Women’s Leagues breathed a collective sigh of relief, even though fans are still prohibited from attending fixtures. Not to mention the GladAfrica Championship (NFD) and even the Premier Soccer League (PSL) which allows new Bafana Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos, the perfect platform to choose talent from.
This timely resumption ensures that various relegation/promotion battles can be finalised as well as providing clubs with a clear direction going forward.
Both the Sasol and SAFA Women’s National League (SWNL) are key feeder systems to age-group national teams as well as the senior team. The lack of action had a natural knock-on effect on national teams but this has now been rectified with the return of local football.
The ABC Motsepe League is also a producer of talent, while the SAB League (U21) is a key starting point for thousands of keen youngsters. The exciting ABC play-offs is another important event to look forward to in the near future. Clubs will be mindful of the third Covid wave halting proceedings yet again while hoping that football can continue in some shape or form.
The impact of such leagues shouldn’t be underestimated nor taken for granted. SAFA have achieved something rare in ensuring the resumption of football while also somehow keeping infections of players, coaches and officials at bay. Various safety measures put into place have proved to be masterstrokes and can be utilised as templates going forward.
Currently, the main issue remains the third wave but SAFA are monitoring the situation carefully while having the best interests of clubs and players in mind. The return to action has proved to be a timely boon for local football and here’s hoping for the best possible outcome for all.
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