Fixtures poser as Confed to force Pirates’ games past end of PSL season
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is set to be forced to abandon the tradition of having the last two rounds of fixtures played simultaneously given that Orlando Pirates are on the verge of reaching the Caf Confederation Cup final.
Pirates’ season now seems likely to have to be extended beyond the PSL’s May 21 finish, and this has a knock-on effect in that Bucs’ remaining league opponents will also complete the campaign late.
The Buccaneers have one foot in the continental final after they pulled off a 2-0 victory against Al Ahli Tripoli in Benghazi, Libya, on Sunday in the first leg of the semifinal. They host Ahli in the second leg at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
Because of the trip to Libya, Pirates had last weekend’s match against Royal AM postponed. They will also be unable to honour their fixture against Maritzburg United at the weekend as they are hosting Al Ahli in the return leg. As is tradition, all the other PSL matches of the penultimate round are being played simultaneously, at 3pm on Saturday.
If Pirates reach the May 22 Confederation Cup final, at a venue still to be announced, it gets even more complicated as their last match of the season in the PSL’s final round, on May 21 against SuperSport United, will also have to be rescheduled.
If Bucs are eliminated from the Confed Cup by Al Ahli at the weekend, which seems unlikely given their two-goal lead, their fixtures may still go past May 21 as they are unlikely to be able to play three matches in seven days next week.
Asked to comment on this conundrum, PSL media manager Fhatuwani Mpfuni admitted Pirates’ season may have to extend beyond the PSL’s final day, but said the league is working on a number of scenarios to find solutions.
“We have already communicated to the affected clubs because it is not only Pirates who are affected. Royal AM, Maritzburg United and SuperSport United are also affected,” Mpfuni said.
“We have communicated the different scenarios to the teams involved because it is not going to be possible for Pirates to play this weekend, as much as they couldn’t play last weekend due to their Caf Confederation Cup semifinal commitments.
“We have a few scenarios on the table that have been presented to the affected clubs. For example, if Pirates make it to the final it means they won’t be able to complete their PSL fixtures by the 21st.”
Mpfuni added that fortunately Pirates’ outstanding matches do not affect who will win the league as Mamelodi Sundowns are champions. They also don’t affect which team will be relegated.
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